Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

Bad Schandau, Germany

Art Nouveau Elevator

An ornate century-old elevator still connects the two halves of Bad Schandau. 

 The small spa town Bad Schandau is split into two levels, one at the base of the mountain and one higher up on the peak. The solution to connect the two halves of the town is an elevator, a particularly beautiful one.

The art nouveau elevator was inaugurated on Easter of 1905 after one full year of construction. The “Personenaufzug Bad Schandau” is the “little brother” of the Hammetschwand Elevator in Switzerland, constructed to look exactly the same but much smaller.

The idea came from local hotelier Rudolf Sendig, who financed the entire feat. Mr. Sendig wanted his guests to have an easy and fast way from the town center to the guest houses and back.

The elevator tower, which stands roughly 172 feet high, remains largely unchanged from its original construction, minus a few updates to its mechanical engine. It is still the fastest and most convenient to connect Bad Schandau to its suburb Ostrau, just as it was more than a century ago. Hikers also use the elevator to access trails, and small platform at the top station offers a picturesque view of the surrounding Elbe valley.