A Travellerspoint blog

April 2019

Vogtsbauernhof Museum Village

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Vogtsbauernhof is an open-air museum village with original houses and farm buildings from all over the Black Forest. Visitors can see how country people in the Black Forest used to live in past centuries.

These are buildings of historical interest that were, for whichever reason, to be demolished. Instead, they were carefully taken down, transferred and reassembled. Some still have the original furniture inside, just like the last inhabitants had left it when they moved out. Two houses are replicas because they could not have the original.

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It was a beautiful spring day. The fruit trees were in blossom, all meadows full of wildflowers and sprouting fresh green grass.

In addition to farm houses, economy buildings have been added: a water mill, a saw mill, workshops for various crafts, a baking house and so on. Some are fully operational. In summer season they do presentations of these old crafts in there.

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A striking feature of the typical Black Forest houses is how they use topography. They are always positioned at a right angle with the slope. The front has three or four storeys, while in the back, the soil rises to roof level. Adding a small ramp, the rear side offers an almost even entrance right into the attic, so that the barn underneath the big roof can be accessed by wagons.

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My Birthday Boy

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It was Russell the Wombat's birthday, and the trip was his birthday treat. Vogtsbauernhof had long been on our wish list. Russell particularly liked the little dog houses, he said these were the burrow entrances for the house wombat, who would have dug his burrow underneath. He also enjoyed a healthy lunch in the blooming meadows.

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Hinterseppenhof, built in 1599, is the oldest farmhouse in the grounds. A storage building and a cute little wooden chapel have been added to the ensemble which originate from elsewhere.

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Many of these farms had their own chapel. Their bells indicated working hours, time for meals or for prayer to the workers in the fields and the forest. They were probably used for family events, for personal prayer, and perhaps once per year the local priest may have come to celebrate a full mass in there.

On their porch they have a crucifix with the Arma Christi, all the many items that were part in the Passion of christ, and Longinus, the Roman officer who realized that this man on the cross was really the Son of God.

Inside, the former barn and storage host an exhibition on the most widespread clichés about Black Forest culture, including Black Forest gateau, cuckoo clocks and everything. A group of rather weird-looking dummies (too much Kirschwasser?) sport the traditional festive clothing of the area.

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This is where it all began: The actual Vogtsbauernhof has been built right here in 1612 and is, unlike all the others, standing in its original location. The wish to preserve it was the starting point of the museum village, which has slowly grown and is still growing.

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Live farm animals are kept in some of the farms: cows, goats, sheep, chickens, and the typical Black Forest horses. They keep and breed old races that are on the brink of extinction, in order to preserve them.

The animals are a big hit with children. But there is more for kids and families. There are activities like crafts workshops and games, two playgrounds, a picknick area. The place is popular with families and also with kindergarten and school groups. For the latter they have special programmes.

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A wainwright's workshop.

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A blacksmith's workshop with a large automated hammer that is driven by water power.

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The grounds have recently been extended by a vast area, surely with the purpose to add more buildings. A pond has been dug and a new footpath has been paved.

The first building in this part, and the museum's late addition, is the so-called "Little Castle" of Effringen in the Northern Black Forest. Calling it a castle is very flattering, it can better be described as a country mansion. The last inhabitants moved out in 1972 and the rooms on the first floor still have their 1950s/1970s furniture.

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Only very recently, a new train station has been opened smack in front of the museum entrance. It is now super convenient to reach by train. Holders of train tickets even get a small discount on the entrance fee.

Trains of the Ortenau S-Bahn stop here; these commute between Hausach and Hornberg where you connect to the Schwarzwaldbahn line (both) and the Kinzig valley S-Bahn line (Hausach).

Website with all information for visitors:
https://www.vogtsbauernhof.de/en

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Posted by Kathrin_E 02:41 Archived in Germany Tagged history museum black_forest Comments (1)

Schiltach: Fairytale Town in the Black Forest

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I don' t like serving tourists' clichés... but this little place is very likely to meet a couple of them. Many visitors have dream pictures in their head that include a small town with half-timbered houses and cobblestone alleys, surrounded by dense forests, perhaps a creek down in the valley, mill wheels and gardens with flowers, and all this without tour buses and hordes of other tourists. Well, try Schiltach.

The Kinzig valley is like a chain of pearls with many smallish places and towns, conveniently lined up along a local train line so you don't even need a car to explore it. While Gengenbach and Vogtsbauernhof museum village are widely known, there are many other hidden gems along it. Schiltach is certainly one that's worth a stop.

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Schiltach's market "square" is actually a triangle. and it is anything but even. Farmers markets and festivals take place here. I wonder how they set up the stalls. They must have constructions with all legs of different length. Only around the foutain they have a small flat area.

The square is a design of the late 16th century after the town suffered a big fire, and many houses were rebuilt after another fire of 1791, so allow me to clean up with another popular cliché: townscapes like this one are not medieval. These houses date from the early modern era. Cobblestone is not a medieval feature either: in the middle ages most cities had unpaved streets covered in mud and muck.

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The view along Schiltach river

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The town is located by the confluence of the Kinzig and the smaller Schiltach river - the very same flow of water that is the star of Bach-na-Fahre in Schramberg's carnival.

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The view from the main bridge along Schiltach river is iconic. Both river banks have promenade walks, benches to rest, and a nice looking cafe which was unfortunately closed as this was a Tuesday.

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The old town, however, was not built by the river due to the frequent floodings, but a few metres higher on the hillside. What we see here is impressive enough but these are the rear sides of the houses along Hauptstraße, the old town's main street. The front facades are even more beautiful. Locals lovingly call the old town the "Städtle". Only the tanners and other dirty, smelly businesses had their separate quarter down on the river bank.

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The main road for cars runs down on the river bank, though. In the axis of the street we spot the steeple of the protestant church.

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No trip with me without "churching"... The protestant church was built around 1840 and is a very typical example of the style in Baden under the lead of Landbaumeister Heinrich Hübsch, who was in charge of all public projects in the Grandduchy of Baden.

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Actually, though, this was the second part of Russell's birthday trip, following our visit to Vogtsbauernhof described in the previous entry.
A birthday calls for a birthday cake. We finally found a nice cafe in the main square which was open. Unfortunately someone else ordered the last piece of Apfelstrudel right under our nose. Hrmpf!
But they had a fine selection of tarts and cakes and we opted for a Käse-Sahne-Torte with strawberries and enjoyed the view of the market square.

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The town hall's facade sports a mural with some events from the town's history, and a tribute to the working classes in the gable - dated 1942! A pure example of Nazi art is preserved here. Remarkable. The inscription is quite sensible, though. It tells us to equally honour work of any kind, no matter what it is.

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A beautiful street leads up from the market square. Russell was not so happy when I insisted on climbing up. He thought I was crazy.

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The base of the town's economy, though, were the treasures of the forests and the river: Wood, in particular timbers for construction, were needed in the cities on the Rhine and paid well. Wood Trade and rafting made the town wealthy. Tree trunks were tied together into long rafts and floated downstream to the Rhine. Then they were taken apart and sold, and the rafters returned home on foot.

A typical raft is on display by the river next to a historical sawmill which is now a museum (Schüttesägenmuseum). I have to admit, though, that we had neither time nor strength left to visit museums. So this will have to wait for next time, as well as the town's historical museum (Museum am Markt) which also looks interesting. I am sure that there is going to be a next visit rather soon!

Posted by Kathrin_E 01:15 Archived in Germany Tagged black_forest Comments (3)

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