Christmas at the Ore Mountains in Saxony
Christmas at the Ore Mountains - Church in Seiffen
This month's image features the famous church in Seiffen in the heart of the Eastern Ore Mountains ("Erzgebirge" in German and "Krušné hory" in Czech). It is a little community in Saxony near the Bohemian border and home to some of the most talented manufactures of wooden goods and toys. The Ore Mountains artisans are particularly famous for their elaborate traditional Christmas decorations such as:
- Nutcrackers ("Nussknacker"); colorful wooden figures originally designed to open nuts, but serving more as a decorative item nowadays
- Incense Smokers, Smoking Figurines or Christmas Smokermen ("Räuchermännchen") from the 19th century; small wooden hollow figures in which you can burn down a cone incense. You will see all kind of craftsmen, animals or even a Santa Claus releasing some good-scented smoke through their open mouths.
- Candle Arches ("Schwibbögen"); decorative candle-holders in the shape of an arch displayed at the windows. They used to consist of black ore, but the modern "Schwibbogen" is made out of finely carved wood and normally works with electric light. It can be multilayered, rich in small details and feature incredibly artful wood carvings (mostly craftmen or religious scenes, but also landscapes or cityscapes such as Dresden or Seiffen).
- Wooden Window Displays, decorative wooden snowflakes, bells etc. which you can hang at your windows. They can have two layers and the electric lights are usually well hidden in between them.
- Wooden Figurines such as angels and cute little Christmas Singers ("Kurrende") come in all sizes and shapes
- Wooden Candle Holders also in all kind of designs
- Christmas Pyramids ("Weihnachtspyramiden") date back to the Middle Ages; a couple of candles help spinning a propellered wooden carousel consisting of several figurines located on different platforms (levels) or right beside famous churches as the one in Seiffen or the Frauenkirche in Dresden
If you are interested in more details, there is a nice report about the history of this artwork: "When the mines played out, the miners turned to wood".
The Miner's Church at Seiffen with its exceptional architecture is commonly used in all kind of Christmas decoration in the Ore Mountains. Usually, there isn’t anything kitschy about these carved figurines, arches and pyramids. And for us, there is no better place for experiencing the traditional Christmas season.
Starting on the first Sunday of the "Advent" (Nov 29th this year) the whole region turns into a "Christmas Wonderland". Visiting the artwork manufacturers and the Christmas Markets at Seiffen or just driving around at night and seeing all those wooden arches lighting up almost every single window in small villages of the Ore Mountains is truly unforgettable! And we enjoy doing that year after year after year! :)
We would like to wish you a pleasant (and stress-free!) month of December. And Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!
Isabel & Steffen