A Merchant’s
on the
Via Regia

Görlitz: A Merchant’s Architectural Ensemble on
the Via Regia

500 years ago, Görlitz was
one of the most important
trading towns in Central Europe.

Via Regia

The Via Regia was one of the most important trade routes in Central Europe in the Middle Ages. Görlitz formed a central hub for goods on the Via Regia.

Designed for Trade

In the Middle Ages, the layout of Görlitz was completely oriented towards trade.

Where the Merchants lived

The merchants of Görlitz lived and worked in magnificent houses, many of which are still preserved today.


Hall house Untermarkt 5, built ca. 1510-1515, right: so-called treasury with wall paintings


Merchant’s house Neißstraße 30, built 1726-1729, right: hallway on the 1st floor

The hall Houses of Görlitz

A special feature are the Görlitz hall houses built 500 years ago. Their interiors are organised around a central hall: a pioneering idea.

It makes me immensely proud to own such an old house. On the other hand, I don’t really feel like an owner at all. With over 500 years of house history, I’m actually more of a caretaker over a period of time

Rainer Michel

Owner of the
Hall house Peterstraße 14

Hall house Peterstraße 14,
built in the 15th

Hall house Neissstraße 29 (Biblical House), built in 1570 – 1572

Where trade was organised

The merchants of Görlitz were also members of the town council, which had magnificent buildings erected for the organisation and administration of trade.

Archive wing of the Town hall, built in 1534

Town scale

Town scale and Woad house

Woad house

left: Town hall, right: Business book of a Görlitz merchant from the 15th century


How trade was defended

To make their town a safe trading centre, the people of Görlitz built powerful defences over 500 years ago.


left: Kaisertrutz bastion, built c. 1490–1520, right: Kaisertrutz and Reichenbach Gate c. 1830

Kaisertrutz bastion, built c. 1490–1520

Reichenbach Tower

Nicholas Tower

What the merchants donated

From the money they earned through trade, the merchants of Görlitz donated churches and chapels.


St. Peter’s Church, left: Main portal from
the 13th century, right: interior view

Peterskirche, built in the 15th century

Holy sepulcre

Anne’s chapel

Görlitz: A hub for ideas

Due to the far-reaching trade networks, Görlitz became a hub for ideas and cultural innovations. Artists from all over Central Europe came to Görlitz.