History of the hostel

History of the pilgrims hostel Crostwitz

1. Origin of the pilgrims' hostel

On the "ecumenical pilgrimage route" from Görlitz to Vacha along the old "Via regia", which was re-established in 2003, the pilgrim passes the Sorbian and Catholic community of Crostwitz on the route from Bautzen to Panschwitz-Kuckau. Not far from the monastery "St. Marienstern" the place is dominated by the large baroque parish church "St. Simon and Juda". First evidence of Christian faith (gravestones found in the cemetery) refer to the 11th century. Since 1225 Crostwitz has been an independent parish - today the largest in the diocese of Dresden-Meissen (about 4000 believers in 32 parish villages). Only about 100 metres away from the marked pilgrims' path or from the church, the Gerdes family has been waiting for tired pilgrims in the privately furnished and run pilgrims' hostel since 15 June 2008.

The hostel has been lovingly renovated by Christoph Gerdes, the first hostel father, by converting a former private apartment. One year after the opening he died suddenly and unexpectedly in summer 2009. His wife Monika Gerdes has been running the hostel as a hobby ever since, alongside her professional work. She is supported by her neighbours in a friendly and energetic way. She also implemented two projects that were still planned together: First, a "pilgrim oasis" was created in the garden. This is a covered resting place in the garden, where a set table awaits the pilgrim who wants to move on. For refreshment, tea and coffee, as well as pastries and fruit are available in thermos flasks. - Secondly, in winter (from the first Advent to the end of February) there is the "Meeting Point Pilgrims' Oasis" on weekends (see menu item "Veranstaltungen"). These are Sorbian and German cultural offers in winter for the place and the surroundings : lectures, readings, musical events, open games evenings and children's cinema. For this purpose, rooms on the ground floor were renovated in 2009/10: an event room (the former guest room of the former inn), a tea kitchen and a sanitary room. At the same time, the function room provides a reserve space in the summer, in case more pilgrims come: with the existing mattresses, a group can be accommodated in a spartan way.

2. House history

a) Building history:
The former Winkelhof Crostwitz No. 58 was probably one of the first buildings in the village to be built on the western bank of the "Satkula" stream. While the church and the farmsteads built on the Kirchberg were built on safe granite rock, a safe foundation had to be created for this place (approx. 2 m deep). Located directly on the old "Via regia", which crossed the "Satkula" with a ford at this point, there are many indications that the courtyard was used at an early stage to supply travellers and carts. For example, a "Stallrecht" is guaranteed to accommodate foreign horses, and the bar also dates back at least to the middle of the 19th century. The stable building (in granite construction) is at right angles to the road; it originally had an approx. 2 m wide gate on the gable side. The old inn stands parallel to the road; it was also built in the basement from granite stones. The upper floor and the spacious attic for storage were built in the typical half-timbered style of the village. A probably later extension of the building created the now characteristic asymmetrical ground plan with a third window on the gable side. A narrow courtyard between the buildings was closed to the street with a courtyard gate (today's entrance to the residential building). In the course of time, this courtyard was continuously expanded. Thus the appearance of the original angular courtyard changed decisively. During the reconstruction in the 50s of the 20th century, the half-timbered construction disappeared under plaster. The wood panelling on the north side was newly manufactured by the Gerdes family as a historical quotation.

b) History of the house in key points:
- 1844 (beginning of the records) the homestead belongs to a wound doctor Theodor Joseph Leidler
- 1849 the doctor Jakob Joseph Salowsky acquires the property
- 1871 master butcher Peter Trutz acquires the homestead, runs the inn and is meat supplier for the monastery St. Marienstern
- 1913 Georg Michael Bensch from Jeßnitz acquires the homestead for his family, takes over the inn, and after rebuilding the stable building opens a bakery with colonial-
merchandising. Since then the homestead has remained in the family.
- 1927 Lease of the bakery and an apartment to Max Pöpel and his family
- 1955 first fundamental modernisation
- 1959 Closure of the bakery
- 1960 Closure of the inn
- after: Consumer sales outlet, community nurses' station, doctor's practice, community library, savings bank branch, etc.
- 1993 Start of modernisation by the Gerdes family