The Meadows and Hay Barns
Favorite thing: As I learned from the theme path along the river, the landscape around Forbach looked different some decades ago. There were more meadows on the slopes. Now most of these are covered with bushes and young trees. In former times these meadows were used to make hay for the winter feeding of the cattle. In summer the animals were pastured in the forests, no the meadows. The hay was kept in small wooden barns out there among the meadows and transported to the stables in the village when needed. The slopes are very very steep and this was about the only way to make use of these grounds.
With the industrialization, less and less cattle was kept. The backbreaking work in the meadows was given up. Most of the hay barns have disappeared. However, nowadays efforts are taken to reestablish this cultural landscape. The meadows also have an ecological value as home to rare plants and animals and because they let fresh air stream from the side valleys into the village.
Fondest memory: The meadows around Forbach are at least partly being cleared again. Hay barns are being repaired and rebuilt. Goats are the perfect helpers because they will eat any shrub or tree that dares to sprout anywhere. When the meadow is cleared it becomes a pasture for cows. They use a local race that is smaller and more robust (and produces excellent milk and beef).
- Historical Travel
The Landscape of the Murg Valley
Favorite thing: The higher upstream you travel along the Murg, the narrower the valley. Around Forbach the hillsides are steep, the river is deeply cut into the rocks. The villages have been built on the hillsides, at a distance from the river bank because of floods. In summer the rocky river bed has little water but at the end of winter when the snow is melting or after a heavy thunderstorm in the mountains this looks different.
The settlements are widespread into the side valleys. They are part of the landscape, the views change all the time when you move around. In the background another village appears, Gausbach with its prominent modern church.
Fondest memory: Photographers: The best views of the village landscape can be taken from the helicopter landing in front of the hospital.
Crucifixes and Saints
Favorite thing: Another detail to look for in the streets are the religious monuments. Forbach is a catholic village. Crucifixes and statues of saints have been put up in several places. These are usually private donations, witht he names of the donator(s) written on the pedestal.
Fondest memory: The wooden bridge of course has its statue of Nepomuk the bridge saint. It is not on the bridge, though, but on the villageside bank. Most beautiful in summer when he is surrounded by blooming roses.
- Arts and Culture
- Religious Travel
Fountains and Wells
Favorite thing: The village centre has lots of old fountains, big and small ones, that once provided the water supply for everyone. There is hardly a street without a fountain. Watch out for them. They are all different, some big, some small, some plain, some with sculptures, and all worth a photo. The water is running into stone troughs where horses and cattle could drink from.
Fondest memory: Some of these fountains have columns with stone sculptures of biblical figures.
Finding the madonna on the fountain in front of the church is no surprise.
The fountain opposite the town hall shows Moses with the Ten Commandments. The design of the little square is a modern addition: the water runs from the trough onto the pavement and forms a short "Bächle".
In a side street towards the wooden bridge there is a fountain with a neogothic fial, probably 19th century.
I am sure there are more!
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
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