Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 13-Schwarzenberg

The first area that Taylor's served in on his mission was Schwarzenberg, this wonderful little village close to the German/Czech border.

Found in the 12th century as an important fortress town on the trade route, Schwarzerg flourished because of it's rich mining resources. Todayit's considered the " Pearl of the Erzgebirge" because of its wonderful historical center and small shops that continue to make truly stunning handcrafted Christmas decorations. Tradition goes that the miners from the Erzgebirge region would crave beautiful wooden figures as a way to relax. Even though the mines closed up in the 1500's, mining motifs are still seen on the buildings, in the carvings, and in the local dialect. But I love Erzenbirge because of the beautiful Christmas products it's given us--wooden nativities, nutcrackers, candle arches, and my favorite the Christmas pyramid (which is over 300 years old).

This pyramid shows both the mining influence,
but the building is also very typical of the
buildings found in Eastern Germany.

Most houses display this candle arch that highlights
the regions mining and lacemaking traditions.

I was surprised to see how twenty years after East Germany collapsed how, much left over influence from that time period are still around. Compared to the other cities of Germany, I felt that I stepped back twenty years in Schwarzenberg. Communism themes are still seen on old buildings, in fences and gates, in advertising. But what was most unexpected was the Nazi and communism posters and propaganda that I saw displayed by the youth and I was shocked to see how much Nazi found on The cities in eastern Germany are different from cities in the southIt's a very typical eastern Germany city, and I was surprised not only in the obvious difference in architecture and cultural customs, but also how.

We were lucky enough to stay with the Ebish's, a stalwart German family--though I did wish I knew at least a little German. It was fun to see Taylor interact with some of the people he'd served and to see their love for him.


This church sits atop the old medieval fortress and was one of
the most beautiful Medieval Churches I've ever seen.

Saint George is the patron saint of Schwarzenberg and there are numerous references to him throughout the town. Legend goes that George took on the lindword outside the village, and in an attempt to flee George and his horse leaped across the river and landed on the stone the town is built on. Legend holds that prints his horse made are still visible today.

This mural showed the history of the city.

Traditional Lace making. It was fascinating to watch how
fast she was able to braid the bobbins.

Yes, they had an Arnold Schwarzenberg nutcracker. Yes, I made Taylor pose.

The chapel. Don't ask me what were doing.

The apt where Taylor lived.

The last thing we did before we went left Schwarzenberg was to take a tour of one of the old mines. After the mines closed in the 1600's, the hundreds of mine entrances were lost. It's only been in the last 40 or so years that they've been rediscovered. The tour of the mine was fascinating. To see what they did was incredible. To realize that they dug out tunnels by hand, padded their hats with grass to protect them, spent two hours climbing down and two hours climbing out, and worked an eight hour shift for very little money. In the region people still say Gluck Auf, which basically means, Good Luck, and was said by miners to each other as they entered and left the mines.

Me, Taylor, Aiden Ebisch, and his friend (who's name I couldn't understand)


ash said...

I have loved your photos and explanations of the cities and places you visited on this most wonderful trip. What a grandiose time. What an experience!

Amanda and Chase England said...

I feel like I almost went on this trip with you, thanks to your great info and pictures. I especially loved the nativities you showed . . . I am so ready for Christmas!

Michelle said...

I have just added Schwarzenberg to my long list of places I would love to see. Thanks for the tour. I'm loving it.

jamesandlindsaylattin said...

I love the nativity wood carvings. Also, how sad the Nazi and COmmunist influence lingers.