Open-air museum in Bad Sobernheim
Large Roman buildings and villas, military buildings from Roman and Medieval times, feudal fortresses and castles, Romanesque abbeys and monasteries, late gothic churches, elaborately half-timbered houses of the late middle ages, magnificent renaissance structures, and substantial baroque houses: these are the impressive representatives of the cultural landscape of the Nahe and Hunsrück region. The warring protagonists, kings, princes, Earls, and feudal landlords have been written about extensively. However, this literature says little about the way most people actually lived in past centuries. It is the more modest "monuments of art" which give each region its uniqueness. Farmhouses, village fountains, chapels, crossroads markers, buildings from the time of Germany's industrial revolution, furniture from old houses, hand-workers' tools, or agricultural machinery in the barns are a legacy to us and must, therefore, be cared for.
The Rhineland-Pfalz open-air museum is three kilometres south of the centre of Bad Sobernheim, in the Nightingale Valley on the other side of the Nahe. It was established more than 30 years ago at a time when "old" buildings and other structures in the villages and towns were being increasingly replaced by "modern" ones. Some of them were carefully dismantled by specialists, then transported and rebuilt in their original form on the museum grounds. In the process of doing this, some parts had to be replaced. By doing this, important building types of the Rhineland-Pfalz area could be conserved and made available to the general public. The museum in the Nightingale Valley was designed to combine farmhouses, stalls and barns, workshops of various types, homes and public buildings, as well as smaller objects such as village fountains, road crossing markers, or stone benches into a complete museum village in itself. Four of these villages can be admired on this round trip: Hunsrück-Nahe, Mittelrhein-Westerwald, Mosel-Eifel, Pfalz-Rheinhessen. In addition, there is a museum vineyard in which grapes native to the region are cultivated, a water mill with millpond, and a forest teaching path to demonstrate sustainable forestry. The buildings are not the only objects of interest. Furniture, dishes, hand-workers" tools, and farm machinery are all displayed in their correct environments. Furthermore, the visitor gets a close look at techniques which hand workers used in the past, as well as earlier ways of planting and animal husbandry. All in all, it is a worthy monument to the historical contributions of the "common" farmers, hand workers, and labourers of the last thousand years.
Interested in a little tour?
The grounds can be visited throughout the year. The buildings are open from April 1st until the end of October, 9a.m-5 p.m. They are closed on Mondays. During these times there are also guided tours with special family discounts. Entry is free from November 1st until March 31st.
For further information: Freckmann Klaus, Bad Sobernheim —das Rheinland-Pfälzische Freilichtmuseum; Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg, 2002
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