Zittau (Czech: Žitava, Polish: Żytawa, Upper Sorbian: Žitawa) is a city in the southeast of the Free State of Saxony, Germany, very close to the border tripoint of Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. It is part of the District of Görlitz. As of 31 July 2012, the city had a population of 27,506.
|• Mayor (2015–22)||Thomas Zenker|
|• Total||66.74 km2 (25.77 sq mi)|
|Elevation||242 m (794 ft)|
|• Density||370/km2 (960/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Vehicle registration||GR, ZI|
The inner city of Zittau still shows its original beauty with many houses from several architectural periods: the famous town hall built in an Italian style, the church of St John and the stables (Salzhaus) with its medieval heritage. This multi-storied building is one of the oldest of its kind in Germany.
The history of the city dates back to a 12th-century Slavic settlement. The area belonged to the Czech (Bohemian) Duchy (and later Kingdom) from the 11th century. It was first mentioned under the Latinized name Sitavia in 1238. It was granted town rights in 1255 by King Ottokar II of Bohemia, who also built defensive walls. In 1319 it passed to the Piast-ruled Duchy of Jawor of then-fragmented Poland, and after the death of Duke Henry I of Jawor in 1346, it became part of the Czech (Bohemian) Crown again. The city's coat of arms still shows a Czech Lion and a Silesian Piast Eagle. In 1346 the city became one of the members of the Six-City League of Upper Lusatia. At that time the city was granted a special title—it was called "Die Reiche" ("the Rich") because of its high proportion of well-to-do citizens. In 1359 and 1422 it suffered great fires. In 1469, together with the Lusatian League, the city recognized Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus as rightful ruler, thus passing to Hungary, and after his death in 1490 the city returned to the Bohemian Crown, then under the rule of Polish prince Vladislaus II. It remained part of it until 1635 when it passed to the Electorate of Saxony.
During the Counter-Reformation, especially following the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, a large number of Protestant refugees from Bohemia (the böhmische Exulanten) came to Zittau, where the Protestant Saxon rulers took them in. Many of them went on to find refuge in surrounding villages, in Dresden, and in Berlin in Brandenburg. Primarily as a result of the near-complete destruction of the city during the Seven Years' War, Zittau's then prosperity is reflected today in only a few exceptional buildings and the cemeteries where the well-to-do were buried.
One of the most important trading goods of this early age in the 16th century was beer. Later in the 18th and 19th century textiles became important too, a tradition common in the region of Upper Lusatia.
During World War II, a labour camp was located in the city. It provided forced labour for Phänomen Werke Gustav Hiller, a truck-manufacturing company (which became VEB Kraftfahrzeugwerk Phänomen after the war, renamed VEB Robur-Werke Zittau in 1957).
The local council has 26 members, the results of the elections in August 2014 are:
|Party/List||Vote share 2014||Seats
|Alliance 90/The Greens||3,3%||1||1|
|Freie Bürger Zittau (Free citizens Zittau)||8,4%||2||5|
|Freie Unabhängige Wähler (FUW) (Free independent voters)||8,3%||2||1|
|Zittau kann mehr e.V. (ZKM) (Zittau can do more)||18,5%||5||–|
Following the North German Confederation Treaty the Kingdom of Saxony entered the North German Confederation in 1866. This continued after the founding of the German Empire on 18 January 1871. Following this Saxony participated in Reichstag elections from February 1867. Zittau returned a series of Reichstag Deputies until 1919 when the existing constituencies were scrapped.
There are roughly 3,500 students studying at the Zittau/Görlitz University of Applied Sciences and at the independent International Graduate School, Germany's smallest university catering to students from nearby Poland and the Czech Republic.
The city lacks connections to good infrastructure in Germany, but a direct link is planned to the nearest motorway between Bautzen and Görlitz. The town is relatively well-connected to Liberec and the rest of the Czech Republic through dual-carriageway 35 just south of the town.
Zittau railway station is located north of the town's centre. Passenger services are operated by three railway companies. The first being Vogtlandbahn, which provides a services from Dresden to Zittau and then directly through to Liberec in the Czech Republic. The second is Ostdeutsche Eisenbahn (ODEG), which links Zittau to Görlitz, with connections to Poland, and Cottbus, where connections to Berlin exist. Zittau is located on the Zittau–Löbau railway which was originally opened in 1848, making it one of the oldest railways in Germany.
The Zittau–Kurort Oybin/Kurort Jonsdorf railway with all together four stations within Zittau's limits is a heritage narrow-gauge railway taking passengers from Zittau to the mountain spa resort towns of Oybin and Jonsdorf in the Zittau Mountains. It is operated by the Saxon-Upper Lusatian Railway Company.
Zittau is located close to the point where the Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland meet and there are several international border crossings in the vicinity. Permanent immigration and customs controls were, however, removed on 21 December 2007, when all three countries became part of the Schengen Area.
Zittau is the only city along the Oder–Neisse line where a number of river bridges remain closed as international crossing-points between Germany and Poland even though both countries are in the Schengen Area.