The Erzgebirge, a visit to the Christmas-Country in Germany

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Seiffen, a traditional illumination arch with smoking men and a Nutcracker
Seiffen, a traditional illumination arch with smoking men and a Nutcracker

[ source: Wikipedia]

Let yourself be enchanted on a visit to the famous Erzgebirge region in Saxony. Especially in the Christmas season the beautiful country side and charming villages invite you to take part in good old traditions. It is famous for its wooden Nutcracker and Christmas decorations, as well as for wooden toys. During the Advent season many colorful events and Nutcracker-markets are held throughout the region. Take the opportunity and visit the Spa town Seiffen (Seiffen vacation rentals | Seiffen travel guide) and the Nutcracker Museum and next, give your kids a special treat in the Spielzeugdorf Seiffen or the Toys-Village.

The Erzgebirge, Ore Mountains are a mountain range, which for many centuries formed a natural border between Saxony in Germany and Bohemia in today's Czech Republic. In the west the Ore Mountains adjoin the lower Bavarian Fichtelgebirge, with the Fichtelberg, 1214.6 meter above sea level, being the highest mountain on the German side.

In the fifteenth century the discovery of silver and tin ore led to the settlement of the mountains and the foundation of cities. Due to the richness in mineral resources, including fluorspar, iron, copper, cobalt and uranium, as well as silver and tin, the German-speaking population called them Erzgebirge, which literally means metal ore mountain range. Silver found in Joachimsthal was used to mint coins known as Joachimsthaler or Thaler, from which Dollar is derived.

Seiffen in the East Ore Mountains is a center of the wooden toy industry. As the ore deposits and related business declined in the eighteens century, former miners had to look for new ways to feed their families. In addition to lace making and weaving, the inhabitants went into wood carving, producing toys and religious figures. In the following decades, the Erzgebirge region became famous for many Christmas traditions. Nutcracker, Räuchermänner, Christmas pyramids, carousels with figures of the Christmas story or from mining and Schwibbogen, wooden arches with candles in the windows, representing a mine entrance, are some of many Christmas goods made in the Ore Mountains.

Today the mountains are also a popular winter sports resort with many activities. The cross-country ski run Ahornbergloipe and Ortsloipe are scenically diversified and offer a great view of the Toys-Village in Seiffen. Another cross-country ski run will take you along the Erzgebirge mountain ridge and open great sights across the mountains to the Czech Republic. Whether you fancy Alpine skiing, cross country, snowshoeing, sledding, snow tubing, snow kiting, or are just looking for some fun in a snow park, the region of the Erzgebirge has it all and more.

About this Article

Monika Petra

This travel guide has been written by Monika Petra.

In her own words: When children are born they receive certain gifts to put them to good use or not. In my cradle there must have been at least music and the curiosity for the world we live in. Luckily I could combine those gifts eventually. My live as a jazz vocalist guided me to see and experience many places in Germany and far beyond. As in my music I like to dive in the historical background of given facts, simply to understand the present. During my travel, my circles got wider and wider and since many years I am now living in Thailand, very interesting to say the least. I grew up in Paderborn, lived and studied Jazz in Cologne's Musikhochschule and worked a while in Bayreuth and Kulmbach. My travels throughout Germany took me to all major cities and small towns. It was the people and local differences, be it language, food, traditions and customs, which made it a lot of fun. When finally the wall came down, I was one of those in Berlin posing on the rests of it for the camera. Off course I took the first opportunity to rediscover the new but old states of Germany and finally understood the impact the wall had on all Germans and in regards to the worst part in German history. Being a German living abroad, I discovered in years what I value most about Germany. Rest assured it is a country of rich cultural background still alive today. I visit my home country regularly and stay in touch with my friends, even those back from school. Another thing I always felt passionate about is writing and sharing my experience and thoughts. The internet provides us all with a great opportunity to connect, tell stories, read and learn from others and grow as a global community.

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Hauptstraße 95, 09548 Seiffen, Germany

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Related Links

Winter sports in the Erzgebirge

Christmas events in Seiffen

Nutcracker and Toy Museum in Seiffen

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