Tour of the museum
In the History Park Bärnau-Tachov, you do not visit a regular museum but you walk through a living replica of history. You find a Slavic village originating from around the year 1000 AD. House types that have been passed down for centuries form a harmonic small settlement that integrates into the rolling landscape around the bottomland of the Waldnaab river and the pond. People's life is self-sufficient, based on livestock farming and agriculture. Religion is equally linked to their natural surroundings where they worship nature deities.
History proceeds, though and at the margins of the village your eye is caught by two witnesses of these developments. In the 9th century the Franks expand their conquests to the east. Charlemagne extends his empire and the Ottonians fortify and organise the new territories and build castles. Here, too at the border between Slavic and Germanic dominions, such an administrative seat is established: the wooden keep towers above the landscape on an artificial mound with ditch. The new rulers also brought Christianity which led to the wooden church buing built - close to the inhabitants of the village but not quite a part of their community yet.
If castle and church appear old-fashioned today, in those times they were signs of progress. In passing them, you also move on to a village of the 13th century. The houses cannot be qualified as "Slavic" or "early German" any more. Instead they show new techniques: sawn boards and beams, a forge with big bellows, three-field crop rotation with "modern" ploughs and real timber framing for the "new" tavern. The owner can afford new constructions as he benefits from the Golden Road. This route leads from Nuremberg to Prague. Bärnau lies almost exactly halfway and constitutes the last stop before the border.
The houses on the open-air site of the History park are built as one-to-one models They are museum reconstructions made from the original materials. As we rely on authentic materials and techniques of the Middle Ages, the buildings are solid, weather-proof and one can walk into them and use them. Crafts presentations and hands-on workshops, period costumes and items of every-day life create a realistic impression of a mediaeval village and the daily environments of our ancestors in this region.