Station: [303] High Middle Ages - The Great Expansion

Favourable climatic conditions during the 12th century led to a spurt in the growth of the population. In the hope of finding new pieces of land to cultivate the immigrants left their ancestral settlement areas and within a few generations made large areas of previously uncultivated wasteland arable. In collaboration with the old Slavic inhabitants they created a dense network of villages, towns, castles and monasteries. A cultural landscape came into being, the main features of which are still preserved in Saxony today.

The development of the land during the High Middle Ages triggered a wave of transformations and redevelopment in terms of the economy, law and the constitution. As a result of this, the settlers were granted various rights such as the right to personal freedom, the unhindered right of disposal of allocated property with contractually stipulated obligations, and the right of self-government.

Thus numerous new places came into being in today’s Saxony and you can read both Slavic and German place names on the place- name wall. In many cases the origin of the settlers is clearly reflected in the name. The exhibits, from drinking glasses to weapons and tools used for land cultivation and management of the estates in the showcase tell you about everyday life at the time.

Have a closer look at the different types of settlement created during the High Middle Ages and begin with the oldest type: the village.