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The Wesenitz is a river in the Free State of Saxonymarker, Germanymarker, right tributary of the Elbe. Its total length is 83 km. The Wesenitz runs through the touristic regions Lausitzer Bergland and Saxon Switzerland. Its name is derived from Sorbian language wjaz (Elm).


The Wesenitz originates near Neukirchmarker, and flows southwest through Bischofswerdamarker, passes Großdrebnitzmarker, flows through Stolpenmarker and Dürrröhrsdorf-Dittersbachmarker. The Wesenitz joins the Elbe near Pirnamarker.

Touristic Attractions

The Liebethaler Grund, door to Saxon Switzerland, is a picturesque canyon. Near a former hydropower station the world's biggest monument memorizing Richard Wagner can be visited.

Historical Usage

Beginning with the inauguration of Johann V. of Weißenbach in 1476, the Bishops of Meißenmarker until 1559 and later the prince-electors of Saxonymarker performed fish farming of carps in two ponds between Goldbach and Kleindrebnitzmarker respectively in Bischofswerdamarker, which were fed with Wesenitz water. The fish farms were of approximately 20 ha each and had to be closed due to economic and technical reasons about 1815.

Historical mill in the Liebethaler Grund
In 1895, 63 industrial plants made use of the water power, among them 44 mills. Today, five such water mills can still be visited. One of them with two Francis turbines is operated by Lohmenmarker in the Liebethaler Grund.


With an average width of 10 m and an average slope of 0.53%, grayling resp. brown trouts are the leading species in the lower and middle part, resp. the upper part of the river Wesenitz.

Down from Helmsdorf, the river Wesenitz is protected according Habitats Directive, referring to the appearance of European bullhead and common minnow. In 1994, the salmon was renaturalized.

The Wesenitz historically inhabitated a large population of otters, which were hated by the fishermen. This population had been extincted until 1920, but revived in recent years due to measures of nature protection. Since 1969, a migration from the river system of Schwarze Elstermarker is reported at Großharthaumarker respectively Bischofswerdamarker and is noticed in traffic victims at crossing points over the B6.


  1. Jan Meschgang: Die Ortsnamen der Oberlausitz; Domowina Verlag, Bautzen 1973; S. 97
  2. Frank Fiedler. Historische Teichwirtschaft im Raum Bischofswerda. Zwischen Wesenitz und Löbauer Wasser 3. Heimatblätter des Landkreises Bautzen. S. 41-49, 1998
  3. Bruno Steglich. Die Fischwässer im Königreiche Sachsen: Darstellung der gesammten sächsischen Fischereiverhältnisse, hrsg. vom Sächsischen Fischerei-Verein, bearbeitet von B. Steglich. Dresden Schönfeld in Komm., 1895
  4. Nr. 162 in der Liste der FFH-Gebiete wegen gemeinschaftlicher Bedeutung für die EU gemäß Anhang II der EU Richtlinie 92/43/EWG
  5. Frank Fiedler. Zum Vorkommen des Fischotters im Landkreis Bischofswerda. Ber. Naturforsch. Gesellschaft Oberlausitz, Görlitz. H. 2, S. 35-39, 1993

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