The cathedral St. Petri in Bautzen is one of Germany´s oldest and largest double churches, plus, it is the only church in Saxony that is home to both – the Roman Catholics and the Protestants. The late Gothic hall church is considered to be one of the most significant church constructions in Saxony and is one of the oldest church sites in Oberlausitz. Its most distinctive feature is the strongly protruding angulation, which is probably because the church was erected on the foundations of another church. Around the year 1000, there was, in fact, situated the first parish church at the same place. After the great town fire in 1634, the interior of the church was designed in the baroque style.
Additional access information for wheelchair users and persons with reduced mobility:
Protestant entrance (door 88 cm) steplessly accessible. Catholic entrance accessible via 1 step of 9 cm. The whole nave is accessible for wheelchair users. Induction loop available.
The rulers of Upper Lusatia – or the “Äberlausitz”, as the locals call their region – often changed, and none of them ever lived locally, which meant that the region could preserve a lot of its autonomy. This also allowed for the peaceful coexistence of Germans and Sorbs, and of different religions as well. This is documented along the Via Sacra, a tourist route in the tri-border area between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. The holy cultural route leads to unique religious buildings and art treasures and is marked by sixteen stations. Already in 1567, the Pope had decreed that the domains of the Diocese of Meissen in Lusatia, which at that time belonged to the Habsburg Empire, were the Apostolic Prefecture of Meissen based in Bautzen. But Reformation ideas also quickly gained a foothold there, especially among the Sorbian minority. The diocesan administrator Johann Leisentritt pursued a wise policy of balance, so that there was also an unusual solution for the Bautzen Cathedral. In the oldest simultaneum in Germany, Catholics and Protestants each use one half of the church. In 1921 the Apostolic Prefecture was again assumed into the diocese of Meissen. The treasury in the former bishop’s seat in Bautzen bears witness to this. In 1979 the name was changed to Diocese of Dresden-Meissen, and a year later the bishop moved his seat to Dresden, where he now resides in the rebuilt chancery house of Dresden Castle.