An old farmhouse makes history.
The nostalgic Strasser Häusl near Hippach in Zillertal looks at first like any other of the many old farm houses in Zillertal, were it not for the extraordinary story it holds of the Strasser Children, who made the Christmas song, "Silent night - Holy night" world famous with their concert performances.
It"s as if time has stood still in the little hamlet of Laimach near Hippach. This ancient farmhouse, nestled on the meadow"s edge with smoke blackened beams, wide balcony and tiny wooden shutters has barely changed in appearance over the last 300 years; Small rooms with solid wooden floors, long wooden benches, a carved crucifix in the corner and a dark curing room filled with ancient utensils.
A house like a museum, which tells of the simple lives of the Zillertal farmers of yesteryear. The Strasser Häusl, however, is particularly special: It documents the extraordinary story of the Strasser Children, who left Zillertal and travelled to far flung corners of the world in order to earn a living. And what then happened almost by accident, is one of the most extraordinary achievements that anyone has ever accomplished in this valley.
From Laimach into the big wide world.
The story began in 1831, when farmer and glove merchant, Lorenz Strasser, left his home in Laimach and travelled to the cities of Leipzig and Berling with his six children to sell elegant gloves, which were particularly fashionable at that time. The whole family were talented musicians and whilst plying their trade, they sang folk songs from their homeland, which proved to be extremely popular with the north German folk.
One of the songs in their repertoire was given to them by Karl Mauracher, an organ builder from Fügen in Zillertal. "Silent night - holy night", composed by Franz Xaver Gruber from the Salzburg province of Arnsdorf, went down a storm with audiences during a performance on the 15th December 1832 at the Hotel de Bologne in Leipzig. A tour through Germany followed as well as an invitation to perform for the Prussian King Wilhelm IV.
This paved the way for the success of the world"s most popular German Christmas carol, making both composer and lyricist, Joseph Mohr, world famous.
Memories of country life
Great success, however, was not to be for the Strasser Children and the Strasser House remains a hidden gem that holds the key to a fascinating story. It is thanks to Rosi Kraft in particular, that this endearing house is still well worth visiting. She took the listed building under her wing in 1999 and is responsible for the careful renovations and maintenance.
Many of the original exhibits are at least as old as the house itself and provide a fascinating insight into ancient rural culture in the Zillertal Valley. Rosi Kraft"s vast knowledge is called on to understand the significance of all the exhibits on show and she is on hand to explain the uses of various pieces of equipment in the kitchen, workshop and lounges.
Butter churns, barley roasters, mixers and "Kopfkraxen - carrying device" are almost fogotten tools from yesteryear that were all used to produce simple foods for the farmer"s own consumption. Rather peculiar, and fortunately no longer in operation, are the two outdoor latrines on the balcony.
Nowadays, the Strasser House is equipped with modern sanitary facilities. After a tour you can sit down in the cosy living room with coffee and cake and listen to many stories about the Strasser Children, the house itself and the lives of the Zillertal farmers. Where history elsewhere is often recreated and staged, in the Strasser House it is very real and alive - and that is what makes a visit so special.
Daily from May to October (apart from Saturdays)
from 10.00 to 16:30 hrs.
Otherwise, on request (Rosi Kraft - Mobile +43(0)676/3225522 )
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