City Logo of Bautzen
aerial view of the historic city centre

The Sorbs

Sorbische KommunionNot only Germans live in Bautzen - The city is also home to the smallest Slavic nation - the Sorbs.
Over 1000 years ago, Slavic people settled in parts of middle and northern Germany, and their descendents, the Sorbs, continue to inhabit the region of the Lausitz to this day.
Today, there are only about 60.000 Sorbs left in the Lusatia (Lausitz). Their motherland is Germany, but their language is Sorbian. The Sorbian language belongs to the west Slavic language group. In fact, the High-Sorbian spoken around Bautzen is very similar to the Czech language and the Lower-Sorbian spoken around Cottbus is similar to Polish.

Budissin - the Sorbian name for the town better known as Bautzen, was founded in the year 1002 as the main fort of the Milzener ( an earlier Slavic people). For thousands of years the Sorbian people and the German people have livied here together. Bautzen was and is the centre of the political and spiritual culture of the Sorbian people. Here one finds the most important Sorbian cultural and political institutions, such as schools and a crèche, where one can learn and speak Sorbian. Approximately 5 - 10% of the town's inhabitants are of Sorbian nationality. This town reflects its German-Sorbian cultures and history, and this can be seen by the bilingual sign posting of all the streets and all public places. The main statute of Bautzen embodies the principle of the Sorbs and Germans living together. The town council passed a statute that encourages the Sorbian language and culture and has formed a working group for Sorbian affairs.

To find out more about the Sorbs, Bautzen published a brochure - "The Sorbian people in Bautzen".