You might know about Herrnhut without even realizing it, since this Saxon town founded by the Moravians, has given the world what’s known as the Moravian Star.
Oh, don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about — they’re the pretty pointed stars (with some having as many as 110 points) seen all over Germany around Advent and Christmas.
Now, that’s not all this town should be famous for, although Herrnhut is the world’s center for the Protestant Moravians. So, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise to find some pretty awesome churches here in town — even if they’re not all of the Moravian denomination.
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BTW, I love the village church in Großhennersdorf, a charming church with a tall clock tower.
As far as churches go, there’s nothing prettier than nearby Kloster Marienthal in Ostritz. The old Cistercian monastery dates back to the 1200s; and is considered to be one of the oldest monasteries in the whole state. The medieval Kloster finds itself on the Via Sacra, so if you’re traveling along this historic scenic route, then come on over to enjoy the rest of Herrnhut.
Hey, this is a place that likes to show everyone a good time — so no wonder they host a Wine Festival in October, a 3-day Summer Festival at the end of June, an Erntefest (Thanksgiving Festival) in September, and the obligatory Christmas Market. A great place to buy those Moravian stars, yes?
Herrnhut isn’t without educational things to see and do. The Local History Museum isn’t just filled with Moravian history, it also has exhibits on what life was like in the 19th century.
The Ethnology Museum is a tad different, it’s filled with exhibits on different cultures — so even here on the Czech border you’ll learn about life, not only in Germany and Europe, but as far away as North and South America.
We all know Germans love cultural things, so it seems that’s why the Unitätsarchiv is so popular — not only is it a library and reading room, but it’s also the venue for lectures and other cultural pursuits.
You could very well attempt to find your own way around Herrnhut, but for those adventurous I’d say an organized city tour would be the best bet. The folks at the Tourist Office (located at Comeniusstraße 6) can help you out with all that. And if you get hungry in the middle of it all, then the Weekly Market (held on Thursday mornings) is just what you need to find fresh fruits and veggies to keep you satisfied.
Whatever you do, don’t worry about counting calories since there are plenty of hiking and biking trails (bike rentals are available) in Upper Lusatia to help keep off the pounds. Too strenuous? No problem, a stroll around the Skulpturenpfad (Sculpture Trail) can be just as nice.
The town of Herrnhut might have given the world the Moravian Star, but you’ll get so much more than just that when you’re here. ;-)