Stolpen – a winter dream
Castle town on a volcano
Stolpen is fascinating. Everywhere in this town you come across edged rock columns of a black and hard mineral from the depths of the earth. They are relics of a powerful volcanic eruption millions of years ago. It was here that this material was first investigated and named “basalt”. And there are countless other exciting stories to tell in this 800-year-old place with its curiously sloping market square and neat town houses, stories of Slavs, Hussites, Frenchmen and Prussians, of plagues, fires and sieges. However, most visitors are only interested in one of them: the tragic story of Countess Cosel. Her moving fate is the main subject of the museum in the castle.
But Stolpen is not only a place of geology and history, but also of craftsmanship. It is, in fact one of the region’s most important centres of traditional Ore Mountains folkloristic art. In the Ratags factory demonstration workshop, delicate jigsaw and woodturning elements are crafted to fine candle arches, candle mills, smoking figures and many more of these typical local artefacts. Every day except Monday visitors can watch the craftswomen assembling countless individual parts to fancy three-dimensional unique pieces. Then they have the choice of the whole range of products for sale in the traditional factory’s outlet store.