Regional Heritage in the Niederlausitz

Lusatia is a historic region of Germany traditionally occupied by a semi-autonomymous Slavic minority known as the “Sorbian” peoples. Because the Lausitz is not a traditionally “German” area, there are some pretty substantial differences from surrounding regions.

Johann Hübner & Johann Baptist: Totius Marchionatus Lusatiae tam superioris quam inferioris Tabula specialis in suos Comitatus et Dominatus distincta. Norimbergae//Nürnberg,

(Author’s university is located in the center white area, present-day Cottbus)

Firstly, Sorbian peoples do not speak German, they speak Sorbian – even the name of the city reflects this heritage… “hard” Cs are extremely rare in the German language.

This is also reflected in signage around the city – all street signs are labeled in both German and Sorbian.

Cropped and brightened version of Cottbus zweisprachige Straßenbezeichnung.jpg, originally created by Blue.dragon on 2005-04-16.

Folklore is very much still alive in the Lausitz, and one of the local cities, Lubbenau, has capitalized upon a local Wood King legend as kind of a mascot for the city. Statues of this wood king dot the city’s landscape, decorating everything from a historic well to the central church yard.

Photo is of the author and a family member being “grabbed” by a woodland king statue

Local production of pickles (Spreewaldgurkin) dates centuries back, and has won the area recognition by the EU on the same level as champagne from the Champagne region of France, or Parma products from Italy. I would recommend trying them fresh from the barrel.

Finally, Sorbian art motifs are pretty substantially different from “German” (typically Bavarian) motifs. The following image is an example of a Sorbian product that might be found in the region’s shops.