Can you imagine the Ore Mountains without festive candle arches and pyramids, without incense smoking figurines and nutcrackers? We can’t either. There is no better place to authentically experience intricate works of art made with love than here. Watch master craftsmen at work, learn the wood turning techniques, painting of the figures and carving of the wood chip trees. Wander in amazement through the world’s largest nutcracker museum, through a whole factory of dreams made of wooden works of art from the Ore Mountains, through toy museums and workshops. You will be mesmerised, that’s for sure.
Gahr für Gahr gieht´s zen Advent of´n Buden nauf, werd a Mannl aufgeweckt: (Year after year, we go up to the loft at Advent and wake up an incense smoker:) "Komm, nu stehste auf!" (“Come on, up you get now!”) The locals in the Ore Mountains proudly present their lovingly made nutcrackers, incense smoking figurines and angels at Advent and Christmas. Children creep up to the loft with their parents in time for the 1st Advent to wake up the sleeping little men.
The birthplace of the traditional German Christmas is in the Ore Mountains. The customs associated with this have deep ties with the Ore Mountains’ mining history. The miners lived much of their lives in the dark under the earth. Their longing for light is reflected to this day in the warm glow of our festive arches and candles in the windows at Christmas. The light of arch in the window has another meaning associated to it: the arch’s light was also to show miners the way back home safely.
The miner’s figure and angels carrying candles are among the most well-known symbolic figures from the Ore Mountains; they are produced by the skilful hands of toy makers based on old designs and in new versions too. As a result of their back-breaking labour underground, light has always been more than mere illumination in their dangerous search for the mountain’s ore. The warm glow of the light often became a powerful metaphor for life. When boys were born they used to be given a miner figure and girls were given an angel. They were then displayed at the window so the neighbours and people walking past always knew how many children the family had and how many of them were boys and how many were girls.
What actually is a Christmas mountain? A Christmas mountain is a decorative, mountain-like model of the landscape from the Ore Mountains that is set up during the Christmas period portraying nativity and mining scenes. Sophisticated mechanisms bring the figures on the Christmas mountain to life. The Christmas mountain has its origins in the so-called Buckelbergwerk models of the 18th century, which only showed mining motifs. The Christmas scenes were added in the 19th century.
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