Once upon a time... Pirna's history at a glimpse

March 1233 saw Pirna's first mention in an archival source. At the end of a record written by Bishop Heinrich von Meißen, the content of which had nothing to do with Pirna, a priest called Gottschalk from Pirna ("godeschalcus de pne, plebanus") is named as witness for the correctness of the record. It is believed that the founding father of the city was Henry III, called "the Illustrious" (der Erlauchte), Margrave of Meissen. He was the first to write official records and documents here. One document from 1245 mentions a citizen ("burgensis") from Pirna, which implies that by this time at the latest, the young settlement had been granted town privileges.

Chronological table

13th century

  • 1233 first mention in a record by Bishop Heinrich von Meißen
  • 1291 explicitly named "civitas" (= city)
  • from 1294 Pirna belongs to Bohemia

14th century

  • around 1300 the Dominican monastery is founded in Pirna
  • 1317 mention of a Latin school
  • 1338 mention of a hospital

15th century

  • from 1405 Pirna is again under the rule of the Margraviate of Meissen (the most important settlement in the upper Elbe region)
  • 1465 birth of Johannes Tetzel, a Dominican friar known for his sale of indulgences and as an adversary of Martin Luther

16th century

  • 1502 – 1546 St. Marienkirche (Church of St Mary) is built as a late Gothic "Hall Church"

17th century

  • 1634 peace negotiations in Pirna between the Electorate of Saxony and Habsburg, resulting in the Peace of Prague in 1635: Pirna received Upper Lusatia as a concession
  • 1639 siege and pillage by Swedish troops during the Thirty Years' War – known as the "misery of Pirna" ("Pirn'sches Elend")

18th century

  • 1706/1756 the Great Northern War and the Seven Years' War bring more damage and suffering to the city

19th century

  • 1813 French troops occupy the city, Napoleon temporarily lives in Pirna
  • 1836 the city walls and gates finally collapse
  • 1837 steamship travel begins on the Elbe river
  • 1838 foundation of the city savings bank
  • 1848 beginning of regular rail traffic between Dresden and Pirna
  • 1851 the railway line is extended to Prague via Bodenbach (Decin)
  • 1857/58 the city hospital is built
  • 1859 gas works, gas lighting
  • 1861 the city museum is founded
  • 1869 consecration of the Catholic church St. Kunigundenkirche
  • 1873 – 1875 construction of the stone bridge across the Elbe river
  • after 1870 growth of industrial settlements
  • 1876 the teachers' college (today the Rainer-Fetscher-Gymnasium/secondary school) opens

20th century until 1945

  • from 1908 building of the rayon works and extension of the pulp factory
  • the city grows through the incorporation of the surrounding communities of Hausberggemeinde in 1850, Posta, Niedervogelgesang, Zuschendorf, Neundorf, Rottwerndorf, Hinter-Jessen and Copitz in 1922/23, Zehista in 1930, Cunnersdorf, Mockethal and Zatzschke in 1950, Liebethal in 1971 and Krietzschwitz and Obervogelgesang in 1974
  • 1897, 1927, 1957 and 1958 devastating flood disasters cause considerable damage to the city
  • 1940/41 killing of 15.000 people, most of them disabled, at Sonnenstein castle (a former sanatorium) in a process that was labelled as euthanasia by the Nazis
  • 1945 Allied bombers destroy the Elbe bridge, the station, a large number of residential houses and the industrial estate
  • roughly 3.500 citizens lose their lives in World War II

20th century: East Germany (GDR)

  • 1950 the "Fidelio F. Finke" school of music is founded
  • 1952/57/91 restoration of the minster
  • 1953 the "staatliches Kreiskulturorchester" (literally: state-owned district culture orchestra), which later became the Pirna Symphony Orchestra is founded. Today the orchestra is known as the "Neue Elbland Philharmonie"
  • 1965 – 1983 large-scale development of the Sonnenstein residential estate (approx. 10.000 people), including supermarkets, schools, child care facilities and an outpatient clinic
  • 1980 – 1988 the residential estate "West" is built in the district of Copitz on the right bank of the river
  • 1988 the Protestant community church opens at Sonnenstein

20th century: post-reunification

  • 1991 foundation of the Board of Trustees for the old town of Pirna, the resolution on the restoration of the old town is adopted
  • 1991 – 1995 restoration of the Elbe bridge and the public swimming pool
  • 1991 – 1997 restoration of the Town Hall
  • 1993 the city museum reopens
  • 1994 – 1996 176 new apartment flats are built in Sonnenstein-Süd
  • 1997 – 1999 a second bridge across the Elbe river is built
  • 1997 the building of the technical vocational school centre is completed
  • 1998 the building of the Pirna justice centre is completed

21st century

  • 2002 flood disaster
  • 2003 the restoration of the Teufelserkerhaus (literally the devil's oriel house) is completed
  • 2004 – 2007 the new hospital is built
  • 2005 Pirna is connected to the A17 motorway, the S177 Western bypass opens
  • 2006 restoration of the Lohengrin house in Graupa as an authentic place where Richard Wagner worked and lived
  • 2006 the Herderhalle event venue opens
  • 2007 viewers of TV channel MDR vote Pirna's historic old town as the second most beautiful in Saxony
  • 2007/2008 the bus terminal is modernized
  • 2006 – 2008 the "Friedrich Schiller" and "Gottfried Herder" Gymnasiums (secondary schools) are renovated
  • 2008 Pirna celebrates 775th anniversary
  • 2010 restoration of Sonnenstein castle begins, the building will become the new home of the District Office, the castle hill gets a revamp
  • 2011 opening of the Küttner-Villa as the home of the "Sächsische Schweiz" school of music
  • 2012 the Richard-Wagner-Stätten Graupa open at the renovated hunting seat in Graupa


Visitor address:

Kultur- und Tourismus Pirna GmbH

Am Markt 7 (Canaletto-Haus)
01796 Pirna
Tel. 03501 556446 
Tel. 03501 556447
Fax 03501 556449

Opening times:

Mon – Fri 10:00 – 16:00
Sat/Sun 10:00 – 13:00
Eastern to October:
Mon – Fri 10:00 – 18:00
Sat/Sun 10:00 – 14:00

Principal Office:
Kultur- und Tourismus Pirna GmbH
Am Markt 7
01796 Pirna

bank account:
Ostsächsische Sparkasse Dresden
BLZ: 850 503 00
Kto-Nr.: 3 100 111 400

tax number:

Amtsgericht Dresden
HRB 23792

Klaus-Peter Hanke

Christian Schmidt-Doll