History of Marienberg
We see a view of the Marienberg Christmas market in December 2020, in the middle of the Corona crisis. Marienberg is located in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) district and is a planned town at the ridge of the Erzgebirge at an altitude of 620 metres. After silver discoveries and an influx of miners, Duke Henry the Pious (Heinrich der Fromme) founded the mining town of Marienberg here in 1521 and invited Ulrich Rülein von Calw to design the town layout. Mining reached its peak as early as 540, and around 1555 there is evidence of 1000 mines in the Marienberg mining district. In the 18th century, the town became a garrison town and is still an army base with a Bundeswehr battalion.
We are looking at the north-western side of the large-scale Marienberg market square – dominated by the two most important buildings on the square. On the left stands the Marienberg Town Hall (Rathaus), a Renaissance building from the early 16th century with a remarkable Renaissance portal. To the right of the centre is the Fürstenhaus, a former ducal hunting lodge and Zehenthaus. It was built in the 16th century as a three-storey Renaissance building richly decorated with gables and oriels. After a fire in the late 17th century, it stood in ruins for a long time and was rebuilt in 1834 by the state of Saxony as the main customs office. A statue of Duke Henry the Pious can be seen in the centre of the market square.
Christmas Time in the Ore Mountains
The Erzgebirge is known as the German Christmas country. Accordingly, the annual Erzgebirge Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmärkte) are characteristic of every small or large town. While these were completely cancelled during the Corona pandemic in 2020, the visible symbols of the Erzgebirge Christmas still stood in many places. In the panorama, the large Christmas tree can be seen on the right and the municipal Christmas pyramid of Marienberg on the left. We have dedicated a separate blog post to this topic with pictures from a dozen other Erzgebirge towns in 2020 under the title “Christmas Markets of the Ore Mountains in the year of coronavirus“.