Herrnhut

Herrnhut is a small town in the Upper Lusatia (Oberlausitz) region of Saxony (Sachsen), in Germany. In the 18th century, Herrnhut gave birth to the Moravian spiritual renewal and missions movement under Count Nicolaus Ludwig Von Zinzendorf (1700-1760). It remains a haven for Christian pilgrims as well as being the world headquarters of the Moravian Church (Evangelische Brüdergemeine).

Understand

Herrnhut was born as a result of people fleeing religious intolerance: Protestant refugees fled Catholic persecution in Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic, and were given permission by the devoutly Christian German nobleman Count Nicolaus Zinzendorf to settle on his lands. Zinzendorf's estate included what became the town site of Herrnhut. The name 'Herrnhut' translates as 'the Lord's watchful care' and was chosen by the Moravians because they saw themselves as being under God's protection. The count soon took on a direct leadership role with the refugees, helping to mould them into a strong community.

From this tiny village hamlet, a vibrant missionary movement began. Herrnhut sent out 100 missionaries to the far-flung corners of the world in the 25 years after 1727, more than all Protestant efforts at missions in the previous 200 years, since the birth of Protestantism in the wake of the Reformation. (Another 1900 have gone out in the years since and to put that in context, the town's current population is just a shade under 5,000.)

There is an egalitarian spirit that runs through the veins of the town today. While it may be socially conservative, even too much so for some people’s tastes, the genuine community values of the town’s founders and their descendants, which have seen them prize freedom and gentle persuasion over coercion, makes Herrnhut a very welcoming place for everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof.

The local economy has fared well despite being in the 'poor former East Germany', running, as it does, on a mix of church administration, light manufacturing and services, and tourism largely driven by the area's Moravian heritage. In addition to the actual town site, the municipality of Herrnhut oversees local government services for the villages of Euldorf, Friedensthal, Großhennersdorf, Heuscheune, Neundorf auf dem Eigen, Ninive, Ruppersdorf, Schwan, Schönbrunn and Strahwalde.

Talk

Most locals under 50 speak some English. As with the rest of Germany, the younger the person, generally speaking, the better the English. As many English-speaking tourists come here to soak up the town's religious history, those involved in the local tourism industry usually have excellent English skills. Also, those aged over 30 may have some ability in Russian, which was a compulsory second language in GDR schools.

Get in

Herrnhut is approximately 90 km east of Dresden, the capital of Saxony.

By plane

International airports nearest to Herrnhut are Dresden, Berlin and Leipzig (in Germany) and Prague (in the Czech Republic). For inexpensive flights with discount carriers from within Europe, Prague and Berlin-Schönefeld are the best airports. For flights from the USA, the best airport is Dresden, which is also the closest airport to Herrnhut, followed by Prague and Berlin-Tegel.

By train

The nearest train station to Herrnhut is in Löbau (Sachsen). On online train timetables, it is referred to as "Lobau (Sachs)" i.e. do not search for Lobau (Sachsen), as that will call up a different train station.

To travel from Dresden to Löbau: head to the airport's S-Bahn (streetcar/tram) stop which is found on the lower level of the airport. Buy a ticket at the automat directly by the S-Bahn. Enter Löbau as your destination; the ticket should cost €13.70 total. You can check out train/bus schedules or buy your ticket ahead of time here . The English version of this site may be selected in the upper right-hand corner. Enter “Dresden Airport” as your origin and “Löbau (Sachs)” as your destination. Take the S-Bahn #2 (in the direction of Pirna) for 5 minutes and exit at the Dresden-Klotzsche stop. Alternatively, you can take Bus #80 or Bus #77 + #72 (transfer at Klotzsche Rathuas) to the train station at Dresden-Klotzsche. The bus platforms are located directly out the front door of the airport. From Dresden-Klotzsche you will take a regional train in the direction of Görlitz to the Löbau stop. This takes about 1 hour.

To travel from Berlin to Löbau: Berlin has two main airports, Tegel and Schönefeld. Berlin-Schönefeld is a center for discount flights from other European cities. Berlin-Tegel is the larger airport and has many direct international flights, including from the United States. The Berlin Linien Express Bus travels from both Berlin airports directly to the main train station in Dresden. It will take a total of at least 4 hours to get from Berlin to Herrnhut, not counting extra time needed if your connections do not work out favourably. Tickets must be reserved ahead of time. Bus schedules and booking: Berlin Linien Express . (This website is also available in English.) Select either Tegel or Schönefeld as your departure (as applicable) and choose Dresden Hauptbahnhof (Hbf) as your destination. The normal ticket price is €16 (one way). There are also occasionally special offers for lower fares. The Express Bus departs from the main bus platforms at each airport and takes 2 - (nearly) 3 hours to Dresden. Once you have arrived at the Dresden Hauptbahnhof (main station), buy a train ticket to Löbau. It will cost approximately €15.

By bus

There is no operational train station in Herrnhut. It is possible reach Herrnhut via Löbau using bus No. 27 that runs between the larger towns of Zittau and Löbau (known on train timetables as "Löbau (Sachs)" to distinguish it from other locations in Germany of the same name). On this bus route, get off at the bus stop named Zinzendorfplatz.

Here are links to the bus company website and the bus timetables from Löbau to Herrnhut .

If you take the option of flying into Prague (see above), to travel from Prague to Herrnhut: Travelling from the Czech capital to Herrnhut is very cheap but takes at least 3 hours and involves several connections. You will also need to have cash in Czech Koruna (czk) to pay for some of your fares throughout this journey. The approximate exchange rate is 25 Koruna (crowns) to €1. There are two Czech cities near Herrnhut which can be reached from the airport or the centre of Prague: Varnsdorf and Liberec.

From Prague to Varnsdorf: The closest Czech city to Herrnhut is Varnsdorf, directly on the Czech/German border. At the kiosk in the Prague airport arrival hall, buy a 75-minute public transport (26czk each, plus an extra half-ticket for each large piece of luggage.) These are valid for 1 1/4 hours on bus, tram and metro within Prague. From the airport, take Bus #119 to Dejvicka. At Dejvicka, take the Metro A (green, direction of Depo Hostivar) to Muzeum. Take the Metro C (red, direction of Ladvi) to Nadrazi Holesovice. Go outside to the bus station to find the bus to Varnsdorf (platform 2, 3 or 7). Tickets cost about 100czk, plus about 10czk for each piece of luggage. Bus schedule is here . Varnsdorf is approximately 25 minutes by car from Herrnhut. Taxis are usually available for this portion of the journey.

From Prague to Liberec: Liberec is located approximately 30 km south of Herrnhut. At the kiosk in the Prague airport arrival hall, buy a 75-minute public transport (see above). From the airport, take Bus #100 to Zlicin. Take the Metro B (yellow) to Cerny Most. Take the Student Agency bus (platform 3 or 7) to Liberec. The buses are usually full at least an hour ahead of time, so it is best to book in advance. You can do this with a credit card. Tickets cost 90czk for adults. Booking can be done here . Choose Praha-Cerny Most as your point of departure and Liberec AN as your point of arrival. The bus may stop at two different places in Liberec. Exit the bus at the terminal station, which is the main bus depot. Liberec is approximately 45 minutes by car from Herrnhut. Alternatively, take a train across the border to the city of Zittau and from there take the bus 27 to Herrnhut.

By car

From Dresden, take the A4 in the direction of Görlitz to the Bautzen-Ost exit. Turn left on the B156 in the direction of Bautzen. In Bautzen, turn left on the B6 in the direction of Löbau at the second traffic light. After approximately 20 km you will approach the town of Löbau. Turn left on the B178 in the direction of Zittau. From here there are signs to Herrnhut. The drive from Dresden to Herrnhut takes about 1.5 hours.

Get around

Walking

The best way of getting around is on foot. The town is small and one can easily walk between the museums and landmarks in a short space of time.

See

Lookout Tower, Hutberg.
Nicaraguan wood carving, Museum of Ethnology.

Do

Herrnhut Viaduct.
Slow Death (Langsamer Tod).

Events

Buy

Moravian Advent Star.

Eat

If you're staying in town a few days or longer and want to get some groceries head to the local Penny Markt or Netto, both on Löbauer Straße and both open Mon-Sat 7AM-8PM.

Alternatively, you can shop at Dürninger's, (part of the Abraham Dürninger company, founded by Herr Dürninger in 1747 and at one time one of the largest trading companies in Europe). Dürninger's, located on Dürninger Straße, is a little pricier than the supermarkets but they stock many items you can't get elsewhere. Now and then you find imported goodies like Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauce, which are not the easiest items to locate in Deutschland. Phone: +49 35873-2466. Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 7AM-6PM, Sat 7AM-11AM.

Also, Ramona Wendland Fruit & Vegetables (Ramona Wendland Obst & Gemuse), also on Dürninger Straße, is a local 'gourmet' food store which stocks fresh organic produce from the region - sun-dried tomatoes, etc. Phone: +49 35873-2552. Opening Hours: Mon-Wed, Fri 8AM-6PM, Thu 8AM-7PM, Sat 8AM-Noon.

Drink

Sample the regional beers of choice: Eibauer, a dark beer popular in GDR times and revived after reunification (see below), and Landskron, a Pilsner type beer similar to lager but stronger and with a more distinctive taste of hops.

Sleep

Neon sign outside Jesus-Haus, August-Bebel-Straße.

Tagungs- und Erholungsheim Herrnhut), Comenius Street 8 +10,  +49 35873-33840, fax: +49 35873-33859, e-mail: . Comprises two large houses - the Meeting House (Tagungshaus), with 50 beds, dining room that seats 116 and conference hall that seats 150, and the Family Inn (Familienferienstätte) with 37 beds. Doubles from €32.

Stay healthy

Go next

On the doorstep

Further afield

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, December 05, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.