Saxony (Sachsen) is federal state in the east of Germany. Outside of Berlin it contains the two largest and important cities in eastern Germany, Leipzig and Dresden. The state has a long history of independence as a kingdom (much like Bavaria), and as a result has a strong sense of self-idenity. It is home to many historic towns and cities and also the eastern German mountain range, the Ore Mountains or "Erzgebirge" which it shares with the Czech Republic to the south. It also shares international borders with Poland and the region of Silesia to the east.
Saxony is divided into eight historical, cultural and geographic regions:
- Dresden — must-see state capital with old baroque city centre
- Bautzen — capital city of Upper Lusatia and cultural centre of the Sorbs
- Görlitz — well preserved historic city on the border to Poland and Silesia
- Leipzig — old banking and publishing city famous for its ties to Bach
- Meissen — medieval cathedral and famous for its Meissen (Chinese) porcelain
- Plauen — famous for its lace industry
Language of communication is naturally German, but the Sorbs in the Oberlausitz also speak their own language. Sorbian is a sister language of Polish and Czech. The Saxon accent is quite strange for most other Germans and therefore often ridiculed and used in comedy. Regardless, the Saxons are very proud of it and it remains a strong part of the region's identity. English is widely spoken and many, especially young people, have a basic knowledge of another foreign language, like French, Spanish or Italian. Russian might be understood by the middle-aged and older Saxons, but with a growing Russian-German community, you might even find a native speaker of the language.
Saxony has two major airports used for scheduled passenger flights in Dresden and between Leipzig and Halle. Flights to nearly all German cities and to some destinations in Europe are offered. The airport of Leipzig has a slightly better network and good Autobahn and rail connections. Dresden's airport is closer to the city and easily accessible with public transport and car.
Public transport is for the most part good fast and reliable. If you plan to do a day trip the "Sachsen-Ticket" might just be what you are looking for. It costs 22€ for one person plus 4 € for each additional up to five and covers all regional trains in Saxony, Saxony Anhalt and Thüringen plus public transport in Leipzig, Zwickau, Görlitz, Halle, Erfurt, Gera, Jena (not Dresden though). Validity is from 9 am on working days (all day on weekends) until 3 am the following morning.
Saxony like the rest of Germany is generally safe and violent crimes such as homicide and armed robberies are rare.