A Look Inside Prescott’s Sister City: Zeitz, Germany

Located about two hours south of Berlin, Germany, the city of Zeitz is a quaint town rich in history. The city was recognized in the year 967 and at one point became part of Prussia. It is home to Schloss Moritzburg, a baroque-style three-wing castle that was once a royal palace, and the Herrmannsschacht (Briquette Factory), the oldest coal factory in the world.

In the 19th century, Zeitz was considered an important industrial center with factories producing everything from sugar and pianos to baby carriages and machinery. Beer brewing was also a major industry in Zeitz and has a long history with the town, which accounts for a labyrinth of underground passages dug in the 14th to 16th centuries. Here, beer was kept cool and ripened in barrels. Today, visitors can tour Unterirdisches Zeitz (The Zeitz Underground) and walk through the underground passageways and vaults.

In 968, the diocese of Zeitz was founded and about 150 years later, the Benedictine monastery — the Stadt Zeitz (Monastery Posa) — was completed. This was also the beginning of the viticulture tradition on the grounds. The sale of wine was a main source of income for the monastery, and the monks had a big influence on the cultivation of grain, fruit, vegetables and wine in the region.

Modern-day Zeitz, which has a population of 28,381 (a little more than half of Prescott), has many cultural offerings worth visiting. The Gothic-looking Das Rathaus (Town Hall) was erected in 1509 and provides the town with a Medieval appearance. While the facade, aside from the open staircase, looks quite simple, the striking gables on the east and west sides showcase the prosperity of the Zeitz citizens towards the end of the Middle Ages.

Also not to be missed are the foods that make Germany famous: spatzle (a pasta-type dish), bratwurst (veal, beef or port sausage), bratkartoffeln (boiled and fried potatoes), sauerbraten (slow-cooked beef), schnitzel (deep-fried veal) and gulasch (beef in a red wine sauce).

What is a Sister City?

Simply put, sister cities are two towns in different areas of the country or world that have formed a special long-term relationship and are similar in some way.

Organized by a group of volunteers, and with the support of local elected officials, the overall goal is to promote cultural, educational, municipal, business and trade ties with the sister city. According to the City of Prescott website, sister city organizations promote peace through people-to-people relationships, with programs varying from basic cultural exchange programs to shared research and development projects.

Prescott has three sister cities: Caborca, Mexico; Suchitoto, El Salvador; and Zeitz, Germany, the newest of the group. In October 2018, Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli, his wife, Sheila, and a group from Prescott visited Zeitz, meeting with its mayor and officials and getting an in-depth look at what the city has to offer.