‘800 Years of Mobility and Movement’ is the defining theme for ‘via regia’, the Third Saxon State Exhibition, which is to take place in Görlitz from May to October 2011. Eight hundred years have passed between the first documented mention of the via regia as ‘strata regia’ or ‘Hohe Straße’ [High Road] in 1252 and its current status and future prospects in the twenty-first century.

Focusing on Görlitz and its region, the exhibition explores the theme of life on and around the road. Via regia tells stories of distances and how they were overcome, and of the people who over the centuries travelled, made pilgrimages or fled from danger along this ancient route. Art and culture were transported on wheels, on the backs of people and animals and in human minds. Along the way, borders had to be crossed and currencies and languages changed; towns grew up, and wars were fought. Travellers brought knowledge, wealth and changing fashions, but also spread disease and misery.

The exhibition aims to convey the historical legacy and special features of this region to locals, guests and visitors from throughout Europe. Keeping history in mind, prospects for future developments are also explored. In particular, children and young people are to be offered a range of opportunities to engage with the history and significance of their region and with issues raised in the exhibition. In which direction should I orientate myself? Why and how do mobility and movement happen? How do I engage with others? What connects the history of the ancient via regia trade route with today’s Council of Europe cultural route of the same name? What does a medieval letter of safe conduct have to do with a modern passport? What links a Brakteatenbuch register of foreign coins to a Visa card? The exhibition traces an arc of continuity between past and present, enabling exploration of the motives driving people of yesterday and today to go ‘on the road’.


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Third Saxon State Exhibition via regia – 800 Years of Movement and Mobility
21. Mai bis 31. Oktober 2011