From classic music festivals to cutting-edge immersive experiences – get ready for Saxony and Thuringia’s event highlights 2020:

A trio of top festivals in Thuringia

A visitor favourite that doesn’t get old: The Thuringian Bach Festival (3 to 26 April 2020) showcases top artists and performers from around the world, all paying homage to the great Johann Sebastian Bach who was born in the small Thuringian town of Eisenach. Concerts not only move across genres, providing music lovers with innovative experiences, but are also set in a wide range of atmospheric venues from historic to urban. The so-called “Long Night of Hausmusik” is a special visitor favourite as it sees locals opening their homes to musicians and their audiences, reminding of the importance of domestic music-making in Bach’s life.

For a unique theatre festival, head to baroque beauty Friedenstein Palace in Gotha, where the Ekhof Festival (3 July to 23 August, 2020) each year puts the world’s oldest baroque theatre in the spotlight. With all the historic stage machinery still intact, the venue is a positively exquisite place for seeing a play. Tip: The festival closes with a special baroque weekend on the grounds of Friedenstein Palace and Gardens, including open-air concerts, baroque dance performances and baroque fireworks. You can even hire your own baroque costumes to really blend in the scenery.

Ekhof Festival

The Achava Festival (10 to 20 September, 2020) could not be more poignant in the times with live in: The Hebrew word “achava” means “brotherhood” and also stands for an open-minded attitude of tolerance. Taking place in Erfurt, Eisenach and Weimar, the event features concerts of international artists, exhibitions, special guided tours and panel discussions with a focus on creating dialogue between religions and cultures. With is impressive Jewish history and historical heritage, Thuringia’s capital city Erfurt hosts most of the events.

Celebrating industrial culture in Saxony

In 2020, 500 years of industrial heritage take centre stage on Saxony’s event calendar. Under the headline “Boom! 500 Years of Industrial Heritage in Saxony”, the region celebrates its rich industrial culture with a central exhibition hosted in Zwickau’s Audi building and six further sites, showcasing the region’s culture of industry, work and trade.

More than 500 objects, including art, photography and film material, span 500 years, and take visitors back in time and to the future, presenting how Saxony, once one of Europe’s major cradles of the industrialisation, continues to innovate and produce.

Tip: Take the chance to explore the region and see the six exhibitions framing the main event in Zwickau. Apart from another exhibition in Zwickau’s August Horch Museum, these include the Railway Museum and Museum of Industry in Chemnitz, the Mining Museum Oelsnitz in the Ore Mountains, the show mine “Reiche Zeche” in Freiberg and the “Gebrüder Pfau” cloth factory in Crimmitschau.

For more inspiration in visiting Germany’s wonderful industrial architecture, read Mark Bibby Jackson’s Zeche Zollverein : the Metropolis of the Coal Mines.

Re-opening of Old Masters Picture Gallery and immersive experiences

Not to be missed by art lovers, Dresden’s Old Masters Picture Gallery with its famous paintings including Raphael’s “Sistine Madonna” and a fabulous sculpture collection in the Zwinger will re-open after complete refurbishment on 29 February 2020.

The permanent exhibition has been fully redesigned, juxtaposing masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer or Titian with historic vases and sculptures from antiquity to the 18th century.

Launched in 2019, the Zwinger palace also hosts special immersive visitor experiences, powered by cutting-edge technology and virtual reality elements, that take visitors back to historical events and settings: is run by Schlösserland Sachsen, representing the region’s palaces and castles, who will launch a new installation in autumn 2020 that will bring baroque Dresden back to life.

Cover photo: August Horch Museum,  c August Horch Museum.