Meissen mīs´ən [key], city (1994 pop. 33,075), Saxony, E central Germany, on the Elbe River. A porcelain manufacturing center since 1710, Meissen is famous for its delicate figurines (often called
Dresdenchina); the industry is supported by local deposits of kaolin and potter's earth. Other manufactures include metal products, ceramics, and leather goods. Meissen was founded (929) by Henry of Saxony (later German king as Henry I), and it became (965) the seat of the margraviate of Meissen, where the Wettin dynasty of Saxony originated. The diocese of Meissen was founded in 968, was suppressed in 1581, and was restored in 1921 with its see at Bautzen. The Albrechtsburg (15th cent.), a large castle, dominates the city; it housed (1710–1864) the royal porcelain manufacture, begun by J. F. Böttger under the patronage of Elector Frederick Augustus I (Augustus II of Poland). Among the other noteworthy buildings of Meissen are the cathedral and the Church of St. Afra (both 13th–15th cent.).
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