The Landeskrone, one of the most famous landmarks of Görlitz, is a 420m (1380 ft) high extinct volcano located in the neighborhood of Biesnitz southwest of the city center. Visible basalt rocks show the evidence of its vulcanic past.
My in-laws live within walking distance. Since I was jetlagged while visiting them and wide awake at 4am, I decided to scurry up to the top to watch the sunrise.
You can reach the Landeskrone by taking Tram #2 all the way to the end station Landeskrone or you can park at the base. Once you have reached the base, you can either take a path that goes all the way around the base of the Landeskrone, or you can take the stairs that go up to the summit.
There is a road going up but you are not allowed to take your car. You can, however, arrange to be picked up by the hotel on top of the Landeskrone beforehand.
Once at the top you reach the Burghotel and Restaurant. The trees are thick here – in order to get the amazing views in all directions you need to climb to the top of the lookout tower. If the weather and/or timing is right you’ll be blessed with a gorgeous view like this:
Archaeological digs have found evidence of fortifying walls on the Landeskrone dating back to around 900. During the High Middle Ages a castle was built atop the Landeskrone and it was owned by wealthy noblemen from Lusatia and Silesia. Because of Görlitz’s location along the Via Regia, the Landeskrone also served as part of the defense system. (The Via Regia was a royal highway during the Middle Ages that connected east and west Europe and stretched from present-day Spain to Kiev). In 1440 when the city of Görlitz came into possession of the castle, they had it razed. After that it was used as vantage point during the Seven Years’ War and the Austro-Prussian War.
On the way down I was in less of a hurry, so I wandered along different smaller paths to see where they would take me. I stumbled upon a large column that I later learned is the Bismarcksäule, a large column which was erected in honor of Otto von Bismarck in 1901. The column was renovated in 1995. It was lined with empty beer bottles when I visited it, indicating that it’s a popular spot to sit and take in the view while enjoying a cold one. Unfortunately it was too early and I didn’t bring any beer with me. Maybe next time! But I will definitely be bringing my empties back down with me.