• Photo: (c) Lianem | Dreamstime.com

Gorlitz

Tucked away in the country's easternmost corner (bordering Poland), Görlitz's quiet, narrow cobblestone alleys and exquisite architecture make it one of Germany's most beautiful cities. It emerged from the destruction of World War II relatively unscathed. As a result it has more than 4,000 historic houses in styles including Gothic, Renaissance, baroque, rococo, Wilhelminian, and art nouveau. Although the city has impressive museums, theater, and music, it's the ambience created by the casual dignity of these buildings, in their jumble of styles, that makes Görlitz so attractive. Notably absent are the typical socialist eyesores and the glass-and-steel modernism found in many eastern German towns.

The Gothic Dicker Turm (Fat Tower) guards the entrance to the city; it's the oldest tower in Görlitz, and its walls are 5 meters (6½ feet) thick.

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