…who’s the fairest/scariest/most erotic of them all? (…?!)
Never has a place been more in love with a theme than Lohr am Main, the hometown of Maria Sophia von Erthal, daughter of an 18th century Prince Elector of Mainz, whose life story helped to inspire the Brothers Grimm Snow White tale.
You may remember that we recently completed a round of fairy tale travels and found yet another town – Berg Freiheit of Bad Wildungen – that also claims to have originated the fairy tale of Snow White. Both have a history of mining under the local mountains and a young noble lady with a tragic tale. (Hikers can retrace the 35 kilometer flight route of Maria Sophia in Lohr.) But present-day Lohr, unlike Bad Wildungen, has really let its fairy tale history run amok in town.
Everything has a connection to the beloved story here – from dwarf signs around town to artistic souvenirs. We happened to arrive during a festival and even found homemade apple cider, apple crafts, and wild boar bratwurst. The local beer is called Keiler, the German word for boar.
The Franconian castle of the Erthal noble family has become the Spessart Museum, largely dedicated to local history and fairy tale legacy. Glass and mirror production have historically been major industries here, which should come as no surprise to story enthusiasts. The mirror belonging to Maria Sophia’s stepmother is naturally the main attraction on display. I listened to the famous “Mirror, mirror on the wall…” quote in so many German dialects (including numerous different dialects from the Franconian region alone) and foreign languages that I can’t get it out of my head.
And from here the good name of Snow White takes a weird turn… Sure, several quirky film interpretations of the story are exhibited in the museum along with various toys and dolls. But the most unique ramble from the fairy tale is a sensual representation of a young lady putting her hand out for a suggestively placed red apple…or something like that. Also, remember the glass production? Glass eyes are displayed alongside mugs and decorations.
Even in front of the Lohr Town Hall, Horrorwittchen (a play on Snow White’s German name, Schneewittchen) draws confused attention from crowds. A guy asked me if I thought the bizarro statue was worth taking a picture of, to which I’d have to wonder what he was there gawking at…