Weifa, even smaller than Steinigtwolmsdorf, is one administrative unit with the latter. This village is about 2 km from Steinigtwolmsdorf located on a sunny terrace above the valley. The percentage of Umgebinde houses is pretty high here which makes for a really nice overall impression. Most of the houses have beautiful details and are well maintained.
For example have a look at the sun dials (pic #4) which are evidence for the many hours of sun that Weifa and its people can enjoy. Or see the carved wooden frames around the window (same picture).
Weifa also has a small museum on local history. Nothing special but informative, well done and you can get an idea in here of the love that the local people have for their village.
Sun 15.00-17.00 h
Tue 14.00-16.00 h
Wed 13.00-15.00 h
Yep, there's actually a marked trail through the village which leads you to some houses in typical local style and some other points of interest. There's a short version and a longer one - the shorter one is enough IMO.
Steinigtwolmsdorf is by far not the prettiest village in the region but it does have its share of the typical Umgebinde houses. The walk is most rewarding if you do it in summer - the gardens around the houses are a real sight. Unfortunately I only have pictures of a visit in winter so far, sorry.
Steinigtwolmsdorf's parish church is a late-classicistic building from 1861, the tower is a leftover of the previous church (1650). The interior is mostly originally preserved - quite simplistic, white with two-storey balconies on each side. The altar is made of wood with a picture of Christ's resurrection. The font is also a leftover from the previous church, made in 1664.
Quite remarkable are the epitaphs in- and outside the church.
I have only had a meal in Steinigtwolmsdorf in this restaurant. And it was a pretty good meal, hearty, local food, nothing fancy and inexpensive.
The location is actually outside the village on the road to Neustadt, at the beginning of the large forest that is west of the village (called Hohwald). Thus hiking paths (and in winter a groomed cross-country trail) start right there and draw visitors.
The interior is cosy, much wood used for decoration. Service is friendly, quick.
Favorite Dish: I once had cake and coffee (quite good). The other time I had a full meal, a soup first, then pork steak with mushrooms, French fries and a salad plus a dessert (don't remember which one). With a regional beer the check came to about 15 Euro - a steal.
A few hundred metres down from Birkgut and the road from 1956 is the smallest Umgebinde house that exists. It is *really* small for a house of that style but not really a small house. I know a number of timber-framed houses (in Wernigerode, Quedlinburg e.g.) that are *much* smaller.
Don't know how old it is, but it looks cute and is in pretty good shape. It is obviously inhabited and the owners seem to take good care of it and the surrounding garden.
I was quite surprised when I saw this. First I noticed the cobbled road lined with birch trees leading from Birkgut through the farmland to the next houses, about 200 m away. A beautiful sight. Then I saw the small monument in a tiny park-like setting (rhododendren) to the right. The inscriptions said "NAW Strassenbau 1956".
Well. I remember NAW means "Nationales Aufbauwerk". This was a project initiated by the communist party in East Germany in 1951, first with the goal of (re)building Berlin. For this the citizens were called on working for free, in their spare time. Result was for example the construction of the boulevard "Stalinallee" (now Frankfurter Allee) in East Berlin.
Later the project was extended to the whole country, also the rural regions. And right here, in Steinigtwolmsdorf, in the middle of nowhere I stumbled upon an example of that project! Even more surprising is that someone thought it was worth to create a small monument to remind of this project. After a closer look the thought crept into my head that in truth they just sought a chance to glorify the local dialect - on the metal plate below the title is a poem engraved that tells the story of this actual project. The dialect is hilarious! Too bad it is impossible to translate ...
Around the years 1450/60 the liege lords of Steinigtwolmsdorf, von Haugwitz, built a sheep shelter at the lower end of the village. On that occasion they planted a number of lime trees (Tilia platiphyllos) there of which one still exists - thus this tree is one of the oldest in the region. It looks quite disheveled, though, as it had to endure e. g. a stroke of lightning in 1936 and a malicious arson in 2001.
However, it's still an impressive tree with a circumference of more than 8 m (27 ft.) in a height of 1.30 m (4 ft).
The Birkgut farm building is about 200 years old. The present owners are still in farming business.
Btw, the name "Birkgut" refers to the birch trees (Birke, singular) in the area.
There are many kilometeres of signposted cycling/biking trails around Steinigtwolmsdorf. Mostly these trails run on trails separated from car traffic. For these official cycling/biking trails a standard bike is sufficient.
However, there are also marked hiking paths and gravel roads through the forests and across the fields that are not signposted for cycling/biking but nonetheless are open for this kind of sports. Here you better have a mountainbike, though.
Also, please keep in mind that the topography of the area is all hills and valleys; sometimes the the trails can be quite exhausting in parts - steep ascents. I remember that my parents quit and pushed the bike once or twice :-)
The marked and signposted trails lead you to nearby towns like Bautzen, to viewing points or through the large forests. You will pass rest places with benches, tables and huts. Calculate enough time for taking photos and picnics. If you like you can also cross the border to the Czech Republic - the next village is only 7 km from Steinigtwolmsdorf's centre (parish church).
In summer season some of the buses have carriages to transport bikes. These are running Bautzen - Neukirch - Steinigtwolmsdorf - Neustadt. You can use these for getting to starting points or getting back from your bike tour. See www.zvon.de for schedules and fares.
Equipment: Bring you own bike or rent one. There are two big bikes stores in neighbouring Neukirch where you can buy or rent. I prefer Little John Bikes, Oststr. 29, 01904 Neukirch. They also sell maps of the area.