The mining town of Freiberg
Mining Tour Entrance
Experience Erzgebirge Culture
By Danielle Pruger
Photos courtesy Erzgebirge Tourism
More than 30 mines and museums replicating regional customs, churches and historic hill towns are featured along the 170-mile-long Saxon-Bohemia Silver Mines Route located in southeastern Germany. Great inventors and scientists of the past such as the mining scientist Georgius Agricola, the organ maker Gottfried Silbermann and the mathematician Adam Ries were all active here.
When beginning the route visitors are welcomed with signs in front of villagers' houses offering the traditional miner's greeting of "Glück auf!" meaning good luck. Wagons carrying mine timber and silver once took this route which is now full of signs that lead to many historical mining sites. The mines are also a good introduction to the Ore Mountains.
The mining town of Annaberg-Buchholz
The Ore Mountains are associated with a by-gone era when the "silver rush" or "Berggeschrey" swept across the land. In the region, eight centuries of mining heritage live on in today's mining practices, traditions and craftsmanship, as well as in art, culture and religion.
Once silver could no longer be mined from the mountains, the people of the Erzgebirge had to find another way to make a living, so they began to cut down the trees and create wood carvings. The residents of the Erzgebirge created their own technique of woodcarving called "Spanbaumstechen." While visiting the Ore Mountains a traveler can visit exhibition workshops to see these wood creations being made. The Erzgebirge is recognized world wide as a region of accomplished toy makers.
Nutcrackers are a famous Christmas decoration made in the Erzgebirge.
The many events held along the route give an insight into the miners' parades, Christmas traditions and cultural heritage of the region. Some of the arts and crafts commonly practiced in the Ore Mountains are carving, lace making, pewter casting and making world-famous wooden Christmas decorations such as Christmas pyramids, nativity scenes, nutcrackers, incense burners, candle arches, miners and angels of light.
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