Saarschleife - the loop of the Saar
About the only thing Mettlach is famous for which has nothing to do with ceramics is the loop of the Saar.
The best viewpoint is high above the river, in Cloef/Orscholz, a part of Mettlach. The view from there has to be the most often photographed view in the whole state and the trail along the river and then up to the Cloef is one of the best known hiking trails there.
A small hut has been built there, which is to give shelter to hikers when it's raining. I liked the figures on the roof, a cat trying to catch a bird.
When we were there it was sunny and dry, and instead of seeking shelter in the hut people could buy homemade fruit brandy there.
Parking is on a parking lot(well signposted), then it's a short walk to the Cloef view point. We went there twice, in early morning and late afternoon, and it's really a spectacular view.
On the mountain in the peninsula there is the ruin of castle Montclair. We had planned to hike up there, but the trail was closed because of falling rocks. So we just looked at it from above.
St Luitwinus church
The main church of Mettlach is St Luitwinus. It is famous for many mosaics, made out of - guess what - ceramic pieces. There are mosaics both outside and inside the church.
The first mosiac I saw just after entering was that of the zodiac signs, surprising for a Catholic church. I had seen something similar in the garden belonging to the pilgrimage church of Mary in the Austrian village of Großgmain, so there probably is some connection. I'm not Catholic and don't know about this.
All the way up to the altar there are scenes from genesis laid out in mosaics. I had read in a guidebook to look for a mosaic of a unicorn, but we didn't find it.
There was one mosaic not done in ceramic pieces, but in cereal. I'm sure it must have been very difficult to lay out, but I'm never sure what to think of art made out of food. I was raised thinking food is for eating, not playing or making art.(picture 3)
The Spirit of the Earth
Right next to the puzzles in the old abbey park there is my favourite statue in Mettlach: The Spirit of the Earth - Erdgeist, thought up and created by the artist André Heller.
It is a huge statue, with a human body and a bird's head, 12 meter tall, made of wires covered with ivy. So human, animal and plant life is represented by the spirit. I was fascinated by it!
In the photo you can see me standing next to it, you can tell how tall it is. Since I liked it so much, I was really happy when I discovered that I could see it from the window of our hotel room.
Imagine a jigsaw puzzle of 137 000 pieces!
It's the biggest ceramic puzzle in the world, called Living Planet, put up on large boards and it's right in the centre of the park.
It shows the continents and their wildlife. There are black lines criss-crossing the continents and first I thought it was some kind of graffitti. But the lines are too regular and seem to form
human figures, so it's probably part of the artist's intention. This was done for the world exhibition of 2000, by the artist Stefan Szczesny on - what else - ceramic pieces by Villeroy & Boch.
During the day there is a video running in an open hut in the centre of the puzzles. I was going to watch it, but it was so crowded that I gave up. When I came back later, it had already closed, so this will have to wait until next time.
Go for a walk in the abbey park
The park just behind the old abbey is open to the public.
Children were playing football, people were walking their dogs, feeding the ducks, all this directly next to the old tower, the Alte Turm, which is the oldest Christian building in the Saarland, being about 1000 years old.
All around there are old machines which were used for ceramic production. I have no idea what exactly their purpose was, but I imagine for someone from the business this will be interesting.
There are also old statues from former buildings and rocks around the small lake. Doesn't this one look like a dinosaur head? (picture 2)
Keravision, a special museum
Villeroy & Boch is the main employer in the town.
In the old abbey building there is now a very interesting museum, the Keravision, which tells you a lot about ceramics, styles of dishes, plates, kitchen and dining room fashion etc. Regularly there are hands-on sessions for children, when they can make their own dishes and paint them afterwards.
What I liked best was an exhibition of works of art students under the topic "show a country by ceramics". Can you guess which country this is? (Picture 1)
Even if you are not hungry, a stop in the café is worthwhile. The ornaments are a special sight. They are supposed to look like the ornaments in the much more famous café/shop in Dresden, Pfunds Molkerei. The tiles there have also been made by Villeroy & Boch, but in this café any photo taking is not allowed.
Here in Mettlach you can take photos.
And if you are hungry, the café and the cakes are also quite good.
Benedictine abbey/ Villeroy & Boch
The Benedictines abbey was already founded end of the 7th centure by Liutwin, however the current building was only built in the 18th century. It's located next to the Saar river and has lenght of 112 meters. You would not expect that there's a factory in this building today but there is: in 1809 the old abbey was bought by Jean-Francois Boch and since then houses the factory & headquarter of Villeroy & Boch, a well-known ceramics company. Here you also find a "discovery centre" (3,50 € adults) with a ceramics musuem and the "Keravison" (company history & presentation of their products). Of course there's also a factory outlet of Villeroy & Boch in Mettlach that you can find in the pedestrian area (Freiherr-vom-Stein-Str. 4-6), together with some other outlet stores.
- Museum Visits
Villeroy & Boch
For a fraction of what you'd pay in a typical retailer you can purchase a beautiful set of dishes for your home. I'm talking about fine bone china plates for 5 euro each. These dishes normally sell for at least 25 euro at retail stores, but the outlets here are quite a find. There is more than just china here, and you can purchase fine lead crystal items and stainless tableware.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
When I first saw a photo of this church I though that it looks pretty much like the cathedral in my birthplace Limburg. It's indeed having some similarities but it's much younger, dating from around 1900. Also inside it's completely different, but very nice. With all its mosaics on the floor, the walls and the ceiling it looks splendid but not too overloaded. Besides, you'll here find a reliquary of the true cross from around 1228 as well as the reliquaries of St Liutwin.
- Religious Travel
Saint Lutwinus/ Liutwin is the founder of the abbey of Mettlach and you find a statue of him near the market place. Liutwin did found the abbey in 690 and later became bishop of Trier. He died 718 in Reims was supposed to be buried in Trier. However according to legends it was not possible to bury him there and they decided that the death himself should find himself a burying place. So the coffin was put on a ship that went on its own up the Mosel and the Saar until it landed in Mettlach where the church bells started to ring. So he was buried in the St Marys church of the abbey in Mettlach.
Alter Turm (Old tower)
Behind the building of the old abbey is a park with a pond and the Old Tower. The Old Tower is not only a tower, it's the remainder of a church that was built between 987 and 994. It's the oldest sacred building in the Saarland. The church was dedicated to St Mary and was built on an octagonal floor plan in the style of the cathedral of Aachen, as a burial site for Liutwin. He's the founder of the abbey of Mettlach, but today his reliquies are found in the Lutwinus church in Mettlach.
- Religious Travel
The Saar loop
Near Mettlach you find the large loop of the Saar river. You can get a great view on this loop from the Cloef lookout point next to the village Orscholz & its Cloef-Atrium conference centre. The view is impressive, and I was not surprised that there very many other people visiting this place! Near the viewpoint is also a small fairy tale park which we did not visit; instead we found a nice playing ground in the forest with two larger slides and we all had to try them at least once!
Some more on the Saar loop: In the middle of the loop in the forst is the old castle Montclair which is in ruins now. A ferry can bring you to the side inside the loop and a hiking path then goes up to the castle. There are also cycling paths on both sides of the river, so can take a nice round from Mettlach along the Saar loop. And of course there are excursioin boats from Mettlach that go along the Saar loop.
- Hiking and Walking
- Castles and Palaces
It was raining and the sun was shinning so a beautiful rainbow appear in front of our eyes.
Off course I tried to make a picture of it..........hmm not that good is it?
- Family Travel
The turn in the river Saar
You have to see the turn in the river Saar, it is beautiful.
The best panorama at the river you have from the point "Cloef"near Orscholz
- Family Travel
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