The Veit Bach Mill in the Bach location of Wechmar. Right ... in the Bach Ancestral Location of Wechmar, Thuringia, Germany.
Also regarding the Veit Bach Mill in the lovely Bach community of Wechmar near Gotha, you will only get to see outdoor photos on this website. However, these were photographed in the best weather. Do you see the curve of the road around the Veit Bach Mill? It could have been built straight ... and that was indeed the intention.
It was really planned to simply demolish the "old walls", the mill, and crush the wood into firewood. Then, however, it was discovered that this is the first place of activity of the ancestor of the most famous family of musicians of all time. Much, much engagement led then to the fact that they did not demolish at first, afterwards the road around the complex first planned, then also led and finally restored the whole mill to today's beauty. However, something like this only ever happens when the right people are in the right place at the right time. And that was simply the case in the Bach location of Wechmar in beautiful Thuringia, Germany a few years ago.
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So, what is part of a real mill and that is true as well for the Veit Bach Mill in the Bach place of Wechmar and must not be missing? Correct ... the millstone.
The Veit Bach Mill is existing – it's that easy – at least since the year 1600. Because in this mill, the baker Veit Bach was grinding his grain. The same is true for his son, who was Hans, the Spielmann. Both are mentioned in the most Bach biographies. And they are as well mentioned in the "Ursprung der musicalisch-Bachischen Familie", which is the "Genesis of the Musical-Bachish Family", which Johann Sebastian Bach himself wrote down in the year 1735, and he mentioned the mill in it. There it is said that Veit Bach must have enjoyed playing his cythringen to the beat of the mill wheel of today's Veit Bach Mill, named after him. The cythringen was an early form of today's zither.
The Veit Bach Mill, photographed from the back. So you get a perfect impression of the complete location.
1888 is an important date in the Bach history of this village of Wechmar, more exactly what they call Bach Stammort Wechmar, Bach Ancestral Home Wechmar. Since that year the residents are cultivating this heritage with that special significance for all Bach fans. The Böhner Society in the town right next to the community of Wechmar, the Bach city of Gotha, spread the news first: Wechmar is the cradle of the largest family of musicians in the world. And it's the Bach place of Wechmar, where the Bach family and music met for the first time. A historic steel sheet still today reminds of the memorable year of 1888 that is – after all – already more than 130 years ago. But, at that time back in 1888 just the Bach Stammhaus was an attraction: It was a bakery back then. Until 1935 Wechmar was a favored Bach pilgrim destination for many Bach fans from all over the world. Bach performances and Bach amateur plays were and are offered and often famous artists made guest appearances. Until the Second World War ended these activities.
From the outside, you can only imagine the loving interior inside the Veit Bach Mill ... to look at it ... you have to see for yourself.
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In 1950, there were plans to establish a Bach Museum in Wechmar. But this project met with little interest from the local council. It was not until 1994, when the first all-German National Costume Festival was being prepared with 7,000 participants and an expected 50,000 guests, that a Bach memorial was also planned. The museum in the Bach Stammhaus (... Bach Ancestral Home) thus became the oldest Bach activity site in the world, which interested people can visit.
However, nobody knew about the treasure Veit Bach Mill in the year 1994 and in the following five years. Not at all.
Mill (... Mühle)? Upper Mill (... Obermühle)? Find out the difference right where it all began for the Bach family of musicians: in fact, in the Bach location of Wechmar, in the Veit Bach Mill and in the Bach ancestral home.
They were beams of enormous size, plastered with clay, painted with white lime. The building: on the verge of collapse. This is how the Veit Bach Mill presented itself to construction workers and planning experts in 2000. "As a good firewood for the winter is good ..." is a quote, still handed down today. "Strange beams ..." is what another called the find. Everything was prepared for demolition: A road was to be straightened, an accident black spot eliminated. But things turned out quite differently.
Experts examined the beams. It was determined that these beams belonged to a Thuringian wooden parlor, which was also called a plank room (... The plank room was often the only heated room in a house in Central Europe in the Middle Ages. To improve thermal insulation, existing rooms were lined with grooved wooden planks on the floor, ceiling, and all sides; that is, another room was built of wood into an existing room, which was structurally separated from the outer one. In order not to have to heat up too much room volume, the ceilings were sometimes suspended. Sealed air chambers or clay plaster served as another layer of insulation). This room can be traced back to 1585 and was integrated into a new timber-framed house in 1685. Together with the office for the preservation of historical monuments, responsible planners, the citizens of Wechmar and especially a Bach lover, the then mayor of Günthersleben-Wechmar, Knut Kreuch, it was possible to preserve this cultural asset.
In 1571 the Veit Bach Mill, as it is of course called only today, is owned by the brothers Hans and Wolf Kritzmann. A residential house and this mill were directly connected. From 1600 Hans Eißler was the owner of the upper mill. The Bach and Eißler families were close friends at that time. And this is the connection between Veit Bach, the Veit Bach mill and the Bach genealogy in the "Origin of the Musical Bach Family" (... the "Ursprung"), compiled in 1735 by Johann Sebastian Bach – as mentioned – himself.
Today, the mill is managed by an association and the historic structure has been saved. This was not easy, because new difficulties kept hindering the construction process, but finally, despite fungal decay, wood pests and other challenges, the structure was finally completed on November 29, 2003.
For many years now, the Veit Bach Mill has been an ideal place for project days with all kinds of attractions related to the mill and around the topic of the Bach. At that time, the construction costs amounted to about € 400,000, a considerable part of which was covered by donations. A further, enormous part could be raised by own services of the citizens of Wechmar in the amount of 74,000 €.
Nothing, but nothing at all, should be mentioned here about the exciting interior. Only this much: It is very worthwhile to look at and explore this cultural monument, to go on a journey back in time and to get a lot closer to the greatest musical family on earth, the Bache, as they were called back then. In the Bach location of Wechmar. In the Veit Bach Mill and the Bach Ancestral Home in the Bach Ancestral Village of Wechmar.
Come and visit Wechmar. Here you can expect five historical places to the beginnings of the musician family, because in addition to the Veit Bach Mill and the Bach Ancestral Home, there is the former school, where Bachs were teaching, the "Golden Lion", where a Bach from the musician family used to live and finally the pretty Saint Viti Church, which probably helped Veit Bach to his name. (... The Evangelical Lutheran church of St. Viti in Wechmar, a district of the rural municipality of Drei Gleichen in the district of Gotha, is one of the largest village churches in Thuringia. The parish of Wechmar belongs to the parish area of Mühlberg in the region of Drei Gleichen in the church district of Gotha of the Protestant Church in Central Germany).
The Bach place of Wechmar is looking forward to your visit.
The "Goldener Löwe" (... "Golden Lion") in Wechmar. You walk four minutes to the Veit Bach Mill from here.
The Saint Viti Church in the small Bach place of Wechmar: From here you also walk five minutes to the Veit Bach Mill. On foot ... again.
The former school building in the Bach location Wechmar. From here again it is also only five minutes to the Veit Bach Mill. On foot. And two seconds to the Saint Viti Church. Bach fans owe the successful restoration to two particularly committed Wechmar residents. A heartfelt thank you "from Bach to Bach".
Scientifically proven and to the point? And very precisely, too? Gladly. Veit Bach is the ancestor of the Bach family of musicians, in which Johann Sebastian Bach is the shining light. Veit Bach was the first Bach who verifiably made music.
However, he is "only" the number 4, which is known to the Bach Genealogy in the meantime. Because the genealogy of this Bach family can be proved meanwhile quite exactly around four generations further into the past, as "only" to the generation of the Veit Bach from Wechmar. Officially not yet for a long time. However, it can. Complicated ... yes, it is very complicated. And, particularly important after the final research in 2021: Before Veit the provable ancestors were only Bachs. From Veit, who died in Wechmar, they were also musicians.
But this now raises the question of who is currently the ancestor of the musical family. It is, and above all, it remains: Veit Bach. This Veit Bach. Because two areas can be determined before Veit Bach: First, of course, there is "some" founding father, who of course also lived "sometime". Between Lucy and Veit. Lucy from Africa. The second period is rather the opposite in duration. It describes only four generations earlier and also names only four persons: It is the father, the grandfather, the great-grandfather and the great-great-grandfather of "our" Veit. They can be proved without any doubt with a document, in fact the entry in a church book. But, and this is of highest importance for the Bach science, for the Bach genealogy and for all Bach researchers: Veit's father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather had nothing to do with music. So it remains, for almost all genealogists, for almost all Bach biographers and almost all Bach scientists unanimously represented definition: Veit Bach is the progenitor of the musical family of Johann Sebastian Bach. And remains so. Forever. And also for us!
But this is really only a fraction of a very cool story. Therefore, there is much more to learn at "Bach on Bach" and in a really detailed chapter just about this Veit Bach and his father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather. Alone the options "Ungern and Ungarn (Hungary)" are exciting "without end" . For interested readers one page is something very special.
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Sir Isaiah Berlin
Sir Isaiah Berlin