It was long, long ago that the Freiburg Mulde river babbled by in the valley below and the Minnesang rang out from Colditz castle high above. From 1046, gentle maidens blushed under the gaze of proud noblemen – just as they did in the other nearby fortresses that gave the “castle region” its name. Behind their walls, Kriebstein castle and Wildeck hunting lodge conceal countless stories from many centuries that are well worth discovering. Some of the castles have even become part of world history, such as Hartenfels castle in Torgau where Frederick the Wise laid the political foundations for Luther’s Reformation and where, in 1544, the great reformer inaugurated the first new Protestant church in Germany.

Luther’s wife, Katharina von Bora, lived in Torgau during her final years. She spent part of her earlier life only 50 kilometres south west of here, in Nimbschen convent in Grimma. The town – known as the “pearl of the Mulde Valley” – once attracted poets including Friedrich Schiller and Theodor Körner, who enjoyed spending time in the summer house of their publisher, Georg Joachim Göschen. And if the Denkmalschmiede Höfgen artists’ community and Jutta Park had existed back then, both poets would certainly have visited them too.

Besides its rich history and culture, the region is also famous for its unspoilt landscape. The Dahlen and Düben heaths together make up the largest expanse of woodland in central Germany, and visitors can hike or cycle to the area along the Striegis, Mulde and Zschopau river valleys. Be sure to enjoy the views of the bastions from times gone by and also take a close look at the river banks to spot more fortresses being built – this time by beavers.

Fancy a trip back in time? www.saechsisches-burgenland.de