A 400-year-old building sure has a lot to tell

Most recently the building at Markt 15 in Senftenberg had been left vacant for nearly 30 years. Owners changed often since the the end of the GDR and the roof deteriorated more and more. These conditions massively damaged the building, as you can see in our “Before” photos.

There had been many plans and ideas about the future of Markt 15, even a building permit, but the start signal never came. Until the fortunate incident in the winter of 2016, when Gisa and Carsten Bartsch from Guteborn as civil engineers had their first encounter with the site. They definitely had the experience with such damaged buildings here in the region. As then the former owners also stepped away from the project, both of them said: “Okay, then we’ll just do it ourselves.” Immediately after, the roof was secured from caving in under the expected snow and the future use of the building was agreed upon with the town: vacation homes.

Construction started in late April 2017, the opening as Markt 15 Gästehaus took place in May 2018.

But what makes this building so special?

Markt 15 - Biblical quotations on the wall
Markt 15 - hall with cellar entrance
Markt 15 - Cross vault with flowers
Markt 15 - archway with old bricks

During construction and inspections by restorers and archeologists a lot of details became known about the house, so that a rough timeline of the life of the building can be documented:

  • first constructed around 1595 – and with that it is now the oldest building at the market square. Parts of the cellar with its barrel vault are still from that time.
  • Parts of the ground floor with its cross vault and paintings are from the time around 1618, before the 30-year-war, and have now been restored.
  • After the end of the war in 1648 the destroyed parts were rebuilt, e.g. the main entrance portal with the psalm above (dated 1675) as well as the cross vault and restored bible psalms written on the walls in the foyer.
  • In 1717 the building received its addition which is slightly set back from the front – called a “Torhaus” or gate house which offered additional storage space, visible e.g. in the exposed beams.
  • More recent uses of the ground floor are e.g. greengrocery’s shop (in the 1920s) and a hair salon (1950/60s).
  • The upper floors served as living space for multiple families with lots of exposed and restored timber framing.
Markt 15 Gästehaus