The museum has its seat in a large baroque house that belonged to a wealthy family. Its centre is a series of rooms with original furnituring that shows how a well-off family lived in the late 18th/early 19th century. The interior and lifestyle were not that different from bourgeois famileis in the cities.
Other parts of the exhibition tell about the history of Herrnhut, the economy, etc.
Opening hours: Tues-Fri 9:00-17:00, Sat, Sun, holidays 10:00-12:00 and 13:00-17:00
Small entrance fee
The graveyard of Herrnhut is originally preserved. It is located on the slope of Hutberg above the town. An old linden alley leads up there. It is a solemn place. The graves have no ornamentation, just plain slabs of stone with the names and dates. Men and women are buried in separate fields. The atmosphere of the graveyard gives an idea of Herrnhuter piety On Easter morning at sunrise a service is held in the graveyard to express their expectance of the resurrection.
Even the noble Zinzendorf family had simple tombstones like everyone else, but their tombs have been lifted on pedestals in the central alley later on.
When I visited there was deep snow so hardly anything of the tombstones was visible at all. Due to the snow I did not venture up on Hutberg to the observation tower - under more favourable weather conditions Hutberg is the place to take in a great view of Herrnhut settlement.
The oldest preserved house of Herrnhut is the one in the corner opposite the church It was built in 1729, seven years after the foundation of the settlement. It obviously was not the first house built here, but due to the fire of 1945 a lot of old Herrnhut is gone for good.
The house is a residential home.
Herrnhut is located off the main routes in a rural area. Reaching the place by public transport is nevertheless easy, at least on weekdays - on weekends the connections might be less frequent. The former train line has been closed own but Herrnhut is served by the ZVON bus line 27 that connects Löbau and Zittau. These buses run hourly in the daytime. From Dresden, Bautzen or Görlitz you have to take a train to Löbau and catch the bus there. It departs at the bus station in front of Löbau train station. The ride takes about 20 minutes. Get off at "Herrnhut Zinzendorfplatz" in the centre of the town next to the church (not at "Herrnhut Bahnhof" which is on the outskirts).
The Herrnhuters are pious and strict in many things but they are not asketic. Another symptom for this theory of mine are Herrnhut's traditional sweets which are named Schwesternküsse (Sisters' Kisses). They are tiny baisers or merengues.
I admit that I am not a big fan of baisers - they are dry and dusty and taste of nothing but sugar. (Fans of baisers, feel free to disagree!) These little things are just a mouthful, though, and go well with a strong coffee.
Only one bakery in town makes them. They are on sale in their shops (there is one in Löbauer Straße next to Zinzendorfplatz, for example) and also in the town museum and toruist information. As a souvenir they come in these pretty paper boxes. A box is 2.20 € (December 2010).
The Herrnhut stars were invented in Herrnhut and are still hand-made in the village. The original pattern is peaks alternating in red and white: the colours symbolize the two protestant sacraments, red for communion, white for baptism.
A real Herrnhut star consists of 17 square and 8 triangular peaks. Stars in any other shapes are not authentic. The peaks are mounted with little metal fasteners. Assembling the star takes a while and is part of traditional Advent preparations. No worries, it's easy and they come with an explanation in both German and English.
The traditional colours are red, white, or yellow, and bicolor with either a red interior and white or yellow peaks, or alternating in white and red or yellow and red. They come in paper for indoors or plastic for outdoors. A little electric lightbulb hangs inside to light them, available in cheaper indoor or safe and waterproof outdoor version.
Beginning as a local tradition, these stars are now sold and mailed all over the world.
Herrnhut is situated in the Lausitz in Saxony, so in that region the stars are most popular. In the 'West', churches were the first to have them. There is hardly a church in Germany that does not put up a big Herrnhut star above the altar during Advent and Christmas season. After the opening of the wall when people started travelling and visiting the Christmas markets in the East, they appeared in windows all over the country. In my living room window, for example...