DESSAU, 60km southwest of Magdeburg, was once an attractive town at the centre of a patchwork of palaces, parks and gardens. The latter have survived, but war damage, Stalinist rebuilding programmes and years of GDR neglect have made the place rather workaday. But what does justify the journey here are remnants of the Bauhaus movement. Built here in 1925, the Bauhaus design school once made it the hub of Modernism and the first place where many modern designs were implemented – these include the Meisterhäuser, the villas of the most influential thinkers, and the Törten, the first modern housing-estate. All this makes it a place of pilgrimage for architecture students, but it is interesting enough to appeal to anyone inquisitive about the roots of modern design.

The belt of landscaped parks in and around Dessau have been collectively dubbed the Gartenreich (Garden Realm; gartenreich.com) and offer days of unhurried exploration and picnicking. Their attendant Baroque and Neoclassical mansions are an additional draw. The most extensive and impressive of all the complexes is Wörlitz, but the most convenient is Park Georgium, a short walk from the Meisterhäuser in central Dessau.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Germany features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The 10 best Baltic beach resorts

The 10 best Baltic beach resorts

European beach holidays haven’t always been just about the Mediterranean. A century ago, the resorts along the Baltic Sea were just as likely to attract the E…

16 Mar 2018 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
How Syrians are keeping their culture alive in Berlin

How Syrians are keeping their culture alive in Berlin

Syria has been shattered by conflict since March 2011; more than 5 million people have been forced to flee the country and rebuild their lives elsewhere. Jessi…

28 Dec 2017 • Jessica Bateman local_activity Special feature
20 picturesque Christmas destinations

20 picturesque Christmas destinations

Dreaming of a trip this Christmas? We're here to help. From glittering cities to a few snowy escapes, here are 20 classic destinations for a festive break. …

12 Dec 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right