The name Salzkammergut, meaning “Salt Chamber" in German, was derived from the Imperial Salt Chamber, the authority that ran the salt mines during the Habsburg Empire.
The salt mine, located at Hallstatt, dates back 7000 years. There are many wooden relics left in it by the miners back in time. It has therefore been an important excavation for the archeological projects conducted by the Naturhistorisches Museum at Vienna. In addition to wooden digging and collecting tools, there is a world-famous Bronze-Age wooden staircase lying deep in the mine. The staircase was used by the miners to transport goods in the mine.
Also in the region is the Anzenau Mill Museum, the first building in the town of Bad Goisern. Originally a farmhouse when it was built in the 14th century, a watermill was added to it to saw wood and make bread in the 18th century. Up until now, tasty bread is still being made and sold in the house. In 2005, the building was transformed into a museum to display the traditional lifestyle of the residents.
Bregenzerwald is in a valley situated between Lake Constance and the Arlberg Mountain that was once completely covered in woods, thus the abundant wood cultures exist in the region. The IWCS visited Hittisau, where the renowned Women’s Museum, set up in a modern wooden building, locates. We visited the wooden houses designed and built by a local architecture Mr. Nenning, learned about the local’s philosophy of natural wood use, and saw how the people preserve old wooden bridges. The people in the region also put great efforts to develop sustainable green energy by operating a biomass plant that consumes wooden residue left after constructions and so on.
The Hohenloher Freilandmuseum is located in the village of Wackershofen. This fantastic open air museum, which has collected hundreds of ancient, reconstructed rural wooden buildings from around the Badem-Wurttemberg region, serves as a popular educational and tourist destination for visitors to learn about peasant life in the past. The wooden houses are constructed with local woods such as pine, oak, and beech, and in each of the houses there are traditional wooden objects that faithfully demonstrate how people live with wooden tools back in time. There are also staff members demonstrating wood turning, crafts, and wooden furniture production.
Previously a carpenter, Mr. Oj?rs Narvils now has turned himself into a rabbit-lover and has built the whole Rabbit Town because of love revenge. This small wooden rabbit town started with Mr. Narvil’s unsuccessful love story and it suddenly dawned on him that rabbits are actually easier to handle with than women. He said rabbits return your love by giving you the warmth and staying with you. Now he only uses those skills of carpentry to do nothing else but build more wooden rabbit houses. Each house has its own characters for rabbits whose temperament suits the house. The whole rabbit town is actually a typical Latvian town in miniature.
The biggest open-air museum in Latvia, Ethnographic Open-air Museum serves various purposes for tourists and citizens in Riga. The way in which they manage this open-air museum is so unique that certain houses are open to traditional craftsmen for the purpose of demonstrating their skills and selling their work. The benefit of doing so is that craftsmen’s real time demonstration attracts people and on the other hand, people get to learn the traditional woodcrafts and the museum achieve the aim of, apart from preserving historical buildings, educating people and preserving the tradition of olden day. Dr. M?rti?š KUPLAIS, a professional historian working in this museum, guided us around and told the stories of traditional Latvia life.
A young renovator, Mateusz Niwi?ski, devotes himself to his favourite job, renovating old wooden house. He has showed us the houses he renovated and his own workshop, and briefed us the current circumstance of the wooden house renovation in Poland. Due to the particular history of Poland, wooden houses in Poland were mostly built up after World War II and many shabby houses are inhabited by the Jews. In Otwock, wooden houses scatter over the whole town. Many of them need proper renovations to sustain for a longer time, but some are even illegally occupied without being claimed by anyone.
A private museum, located in a small village STUDZIWODY adjacent to the border between Poland and Belarus, is run by a Russian-origin Polish man, DOROTESZ FIONIK, who is enthusiastic about reviving the local tradition of his clan and soon expanding to the Belarusian culture revival. Half of his own wooden house has been turned into a museum displaying tools and appliances of the old days. He has then bought another wooden city house and placed it just across the dirt road as his second collection for the museum. He strives to keep and revive Belarusian rituals, traditions and language by holding Belarusian festivals with people who are passionate about their own culture.
The tale that makes the Holy Mount of Grabarka become a centre for pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians since the 18th century is that, while the whole country suffered from a cholera epidemic, a man dreamed of being called to this mountain and washed his feet in a mountain stream in this area. He was cured by washing his feet here, and therefore this place has become well known for its miracle cure. Throughout a year thousands of Orthodox Christians carry crosses on them, be it small or big, walking to the Holy Mount of Grabarka, from far or near, to show their respect this holy sanctuary.
Folk Architecture Museum in Sanok is a young open-air museum aiming at bringing the ethnographic knowledge of different period of time in history to the public, especially school kids. The most particular wooden house of all is the Jews house of 100 years old which was the first house moved into this museum. Being the only open-air museum in the most southerly point of Poland, Folk Architecture Museum has gained in popularity among all levels of schools and all age groups. All the wooden houses are relatively new as most of the houses were destroyed during World War II.
Being one of the UNESCO heritage sites, St Michael the Archangel Church in D?bno was a Gothic church built of larch wood in the 15th century. It’s still in use at present for the locals and tourists. On Sundays, the church is always packed with faithful disciples for the Sunday service and curious tourists waiting for going inside the church, opened only 10 minutes for tourists each weekend, to witness the well-preserved interior fittings and paintings. The maintenance is down to the priest who is not just the ‘tour guide’ of this historical church, but also works as a guardian of this small village and surrounding area.