Meissen is sometimes known as the “cradle of Saxony”. The city grew out of the early Slavic settlement of Mis(s)ni, and inhabited by the Slavic Glomacze tribe and was founded as a German town by King Henry the Fowler in 929. The construction of Meissen Cathedral was begun in 1260 on the same hill as the Albrechtsburg castle. The resulting lack of space led to the cathedral being one of the smallest cathedrals in Europe. The church is also known as being one of the most pure examples of Gothic architecture.


Meissen is also famous for the manufacture of porcelain, based on extensive local deposits of china clay and potter’s clay. Meissen porcelain was the first high quality porcelain to be produced outside of the Orient. The first European porcelain was manufactured in Meissen in 1710, when the Royal Porcelain Factory was opened in the Albrechtsburg. In 1861, it was moved to the Triebisch river valley of Meissen, where the porcelain factory can still be found today. The Albrechtsburg, which was built between 1472 and 1525, is regarded as being the first castle to be used as a royal residence in the German-speaking world and a fine example of late Gothic style.