Annaberg-Buchholz Things to Do Tips by Kathrin_E
Annaberg-Buchholz Things to Do: 25 reviews and 101 photos
The Miners Nativity in Bergkirche
The Miners Nativity of Annaberg transfers the Christmas scene to Annaberg. Joseph is a miner in work clothes, holding out his lamp while his young wife is nourishing the baby. The news is spreading through the town and everyone is coming. The figures assembling around the Holy Family are townspeople of Annaberg. There are the other miners, there are the merchants, the parson and the teacher, the children, the policeman, the beggar, the artisans, the innkeeper and the market-women...
The figures are on display in Bergkirche, the old miners' church, all year round. They are a bit smaller than life-size, many are portraits. They were made by different scupltors.
The Nativity is far from complete. Every year a new figure is being made. The complete ensemble is described on a board inside the church; those figures that are still missing are shown in red.
Protraits of more figures can be seen in this travelogue.
Guided tour of the hammer
The technical monument is located in the suburb of Frohnau. The hammer works date from the 17th century and have been in operation until 1904. Water power is used to drive the large heavy hammers. The blacksmiths of the hammer produced iron tools and devices for mining and farming, and also for military purposes.
The machinery consists of a water wheel and a wooden construction that transfers the power to three hammers of different size. The smallest weighs 100 kgs, the largest 300 kg. The machinery is still fully functional.
The hammer can be visited with guided tours, during which the smallest of the three hammers is shown in operation. The museum visit also includes an exhibition of Ore Mountains folk art and the historical house of the master of the hammer, but unfortunately our group was in such a hurry that we did not have time for these.l
Buchholzer Straße is Annaberg's pedestrian zone and shopping street. It tries to bring some urban flair into the town but don't expect too much, Annaberg is a small town. Most shops close at 6 p.m. The icecream place stays open in the evening, and on the oppsite side there is the cinema.
For tourists, the most important building in the street is the Erzhammer, the first building from the corner of market square: it is a cultural centre, contains the tourist information, and the entrance and cash desk of Manufaktur der Träume.
"Manufacture of Dreams" - a silly name for a stunning museum of regional folk art and toys. The museum has opened to the public one year ago, in October 2010. It is based on the private collection of Erika Pohl-Ströher, member of a very rich Swiss family of industrials (yes the same whose collection of minerals is shown in Terra Mineralia in Freiberg. Mrs Pohl-Ströher was born in the Ore Mountains and collected the traditional woodcarvings and old toys from her home region for all her life. Recently she donated her collection to the city of Annaberg for presentation in a new museum.
Most pieces were made between 1890 and 1930, but there are older items, too. Toy making and woodcraft became an important factor in economy of the Ore Mountains after mining ceased and families needed a new source of income.
Toy making included not only individual pieces but ensembles with complete scenery, like doll houses with puppets and furniture and household items, farms, riding school, cafe, Noah's Ark with animals, town markets, mining scenes and miners parades, and such. Children were to enact the activities of adults in their play.
Then there are of course the Christmas items like pyramids, nutcrackers, smokers, chandeliers etcetera.
The style of presentation is not entirely "museum". The aim is taking the visitors back to their childhood and making them relive their childhood dreams. Of course you can't play with the historical toys. But they have installed, for excample, sounds that match the scenes on display (for my taste, too much - I would have preferred quieter surroundings). Some scenes have mobile elements and can be set in motion by pressing a button.
Take your time. A visit will take at least two hours.
Website in English: www.manufaktur-der-traeume.de
Opening hours: daily 10.00-18.00
Entrance fee: adults 7 €, kids and concessions 4 €, family and group tickets available. Included in ErzgebirgsCard. No fee for photo permit.
Lots of more photos - it was too hard to decide which ones to post, so I posted a lot - can be enjoyed in my travelogues:
(1) Making of Things
(4) Toy Worlds
(5) Pyramids and Chandeliers
(6) Baroque Miners Parade at the wedding of Prince Friedrich August in 1719
(7) Falling Angels
King of the forest behind wire: look at those eyes
At the foot of Pöhlberg there is a park with a small zoo with wild and domestic animals from Central Europe (nothing exotic). The cages and enclosures are immersed in forest surroundings. Apart from the fence animals like stags and deer live in their natural habitat.
On the way up to Pöhlberg you will pass here. Entry is free, so a walk through the spacious animal park is a nice diversion along the way. If you are with kids, they will appreciate this. Entry is free.
The royal stag was enjoying his veggie dinner very close to us. It was that time of the year when the stags clean the velvet from their antlers and it seems he had used a very muddy spot for that.
The lambs were born rather late in the year, it seems. These little twins were frolicking around mum's dinner.
Basalt formation at Pöhlberg
According to Saxon criteria this isn't "hiking" but "going for a walk" but... okay.
The forests of Pöhlberg offer a varieties of routes and trails for hiking respective walking. The easiest way up is the road but there is a network of trails through the forests, up and around the mountain, and all this within walking distance from the city centre. Pöhlberg is a popular leisure ground among locals.
The mountain is of volcanic origin and consists of basalt. A former quarry on the Western side close to the road has remarkable formations of basalt columns known as the "Butter Barrels" - with some imagination you'll see the barrels.
There are some theme trails that explain certain features of the landscape, like the "rose hip trail" about the hedges on the open slopes.
Pöhlberg from the road South of Annaberg
Pöhlberg is a prominent elevation in this part of the Ore Mountains which consists mostly of a plateau with rolling hills and some valleys. The mountain has volcanic origins, though VERY long ago, hence consists of basalt.
If you like walking, the top can be reached in a medium-easy walk from Annaberg's old town in about 45 minutes. There is some ascent but not too steep. But there is also a road up.
The summit offers a wide view over the hilly landscape and over Annaberg. It is covered with forest, hence from the ground you see only one direction. The viewing tower adds 32 metres of height and takes you above the tree tops.
For the romantic minds among you - the top of Pöhlberg is a great place to enjoy the sunset. Ladies, we know that most men are interested in sunsets only because they know it's dinner time afterwards. To convince your companion, tell him about the restaurant and beer garden up there and that you both can enjoy good beer, good and abundant food AND the sunset at the same time.
The association of the miners (Knappschaft) donated a retable for the church in 1521. The altar is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The front side shows the Nativity and related scenes around the birth of Christ in the carved triptych and the crucification on top.
However, no one talks about the front side of this altarpiece, elaborate as the woodcarvings are. Please forgive my lousy photo of the front. Just like everyone else I focused at the back.
The reverse side has four paintings by Hans Hesse that show the legend of the first silver find in Annaberg and scenes from mining. These pictures are invaluable as sources for the history of mining. They show how a mine around 1500 worked, the tools and clothing of the miners, machinery used, and so on.
Location: in the choir, left of the main altar
The huge church is Annaberg's top attraction and absolutely impossible to miss or overlook. The way it sits and watches over the little houses assembling around it reminds me of a mother goose guarding her chicks.
The church was begun in 1499, three years after the foundation of the town. Its completion took no more than 25 years, which is amazingly short for a building of this size and quality. How rich this young town must have been already after a few years.
The church is a masterpiece of Saxon late gothic architecture. The tree naves of the hall and the choir are covered by beautiful vaults. The ribs are intertwined to form stars and flowers.
The church was completed in catholic times - only in 1539 the Lutheran Reformation was introduced. Altarpiecess and paintings, wonderful art works of the 16th century, stayed. That's why you find pictures of catholic saints in this protestant church.
The so-called Miners Altar (Bergaltar, see separate tip) is of special historical value because it depicts scenes from mining around 1500.
The galleries along the side walls bear a Biblia pauperum, a "bible for the poor", i.e. for those who could not read: The main stories of the Old and New Testament are depicted in colourful stone reliefs.
The galleries in front of the transepts, however, have a unique topic: their reliefs show the phases in life of a man (left) and a woman (right) by decades from 10 to 100, each figure is accompanied by an animal that symbolizes the characteristics of the respective age.
April - December: Mon-Sat 10.00-17.00, Sun and holidays 12.00-17.00
January - March: Mon-Sat 11.00-16.00, Sun and holidays 12.00-16.00
Entry is free. Photo permit 4 €, guided tours 2.50 € per prson.
Guided tours in English can be organized upon appointment, please phone 03733-4269922.
More photos of the interior and the vaults in the travelogues.
Ore Mountains Woodcarvings
The museum of the Ore Mountains next to Annenkirche is a historical museum about the town and the region. One focus is on mining, another about the crafts that secured Annaberg's welfare even after mining ceased, like lace-making, weaving, braiding and other home industries. The history of the town and its particularities are also presented.
In the basement there is a collection of minerals from the local mines.
The museum's speciality is, however, a medieval silver mine right underneath the museum site. (Annaberg's underground must be like a Swiss cheese!) The tunnels of this old mine can be visited with guided tours.
I have to admit that I had planned to join the tour of the mine but unfortunately the stairs down consist of transparent steel grids, thus are a no-no for me due to my fear of heights.
Opening hours: daily 10.00 - 17.00
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