Visiting the Bauhaus in Dessau

As my birthday present, C invited me to visit with her the town of Dessau, in Saxony-Anhalt. What is so special about that small city is that in 1925 the BAUHAUS college moved in there from Weimar, from where they were forced out.

The BAUHAUS college building

BAUHAUS, an art movement founded by Walter Gropius, is well known for its furniture design and architecture all strikingly modern and minimalist. The year 2019 is officially the 100th birthday of the movement and all the cities “touched” by it are celebrating it (Weimar, Dessau and Berlin).

We took a Regio train from Berlin, taking our bikes with us. In just about an hour and half we got there and we were ready to start the visit just before noon.

We first visited the college buildings, in all their brutal, gray and plain esthetic (and its iconic sign).

To visit the place you have to pay a ticket, which is 15€ including the access to the “masters’ houses”, that is the houses where Klee, Kandinsky, Moholy-Nagy and Gropius himself lived for some years.

We didn’t know exactly what to expect from the visit, but the thing is that the “free” tour (the one you do by yourself) doesn’t allow you to access any rooms in the buildings, besides the common areas. Those areas are totally empty, so at the end you pay some good money to wonder in a gigantic empty building. Not sure about how good that idea is, to be honest.

Apparently there is also an English speaking tour but unfortunately it is not provided very often.

A window

The building hosts a very nice shop, full of interesting design objects and books. The access to the shop is (I guess) free, so you don’t have to pay the ticket to get into it.

In the early afternoon, we moved to visit the Meisterhäuser, the houses of the masters. These are three houses (one is temporarily closed) where Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy and Walter Gropius lived for some years. The houses were partially destroyed one day during a bombing in WWII, then restored and (heavily) modified and only recently finally and fully restored to their original shape and colors (which is a challenge on its own, since the artists were continuously changing and adapting their environments inside the houses).

The visit is definitely worth it: inside the houses, which are also completely empty to fully convey the clean, efficient and uncompromising BAUHAUS architecture style, you will spend some time watching short videos about the lifestyle of that time.

One of the Meisterhäuser

One of the Meisterhäuser

After a refreshing drink we decided to go back to the hotel and enjoy the spa and some well deserved relax.

For the dinner we selected one of the, weirdly common in the area, Greek restaurants. The choice was for El Greco, which turned out to be an excellent one! Highly recommended.

The morning after we decided to leave Dessau for Wittemberg, easily reachable by bike using part of the excellent Elberadweg (which is also part of the eurovelo 1).

A map with some bike paths of Eurovelo1

We arrived there late in the afternoon and after a quick visit to the city and another well deserved beer we finally took the train back to Berlin.

Written on July 8, 2019 by Claudio Cicali.

Originally published on Medium