Cottbus lies in the middle of brown coal country. That means open-cast mining and power stations, something for fans of industrial heritage. But the city in the Lausitz, or Lusatia, region is also a small gem for architecture-lovers.
Cottbus is both traditionally-minded and modern. The homes of the 18th century tanners are picturesque, while the glass building that houses the library of Brandenburg University of Technology is a state-of-the-art landmark. Designed by the celebrated Swiss architects Jaques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, it's a place where students love to work and a must-see for architecture fans. Cottbus also as a sweet side. What Sachertorte is to Vienna, Baumkuchen, a circular layer cake that resembles a tree, is to Cottbus. In 1819, a local woman, Marie Groch, is said to have baked the first one here. Nowadays this Lusatian specialty is an export hit.