Candle Arches from the Erzgebirge

At Christmas there will hardly be a house in the Erzgebirge that does not have at least one electric candle arch in its window. More frequently you see one in every window of the house. The warm light creates a cosy atmosphere that is not achieved in any other way. Besides pyramids, nutcrackers and incense smokers, candle arches form part of traditional Erzgebirge decorations.

The history of the candle arch

Candle arches in the Erzgebirge have a long tradition behind them. The first ones were made in Johanngeorgenstadt at the beginning of the 18th century. In early versions the arches were made from metal with Christian subjects including Adam and Eve. From this came the assumption that the candle arch represented the gateway to heaven.

An equally popular belief is that the arch represents the entrance to a mine, the mouth of the tunnel. According to this theory, the candles symbolise the longing for light. During the winter months, miners would not see daylight for weeks on end, as they spent their time underground from early in the morning until late at night. All we can say is that there is no definitive explanation for the origins of the arch, or what was the inspiration behind it.

Candle arches only became popular at the beginning of the 20th century.

Many different types

Electric, LED or wax candles? Here you are spoilt for choice. The most common candle arches take candle flame bulbs, shaft bulbs and Pisello bulbs.

Popular designs are:

  • Schwarzenberg motif (two miners, one lace maker and one wood carver)
  • The nativity
  • Seiffen church with carol singers
  • Forest scenes
  • Christmas scenes (Santa Claus, snowmen, children in winter…)
  • Mining motifs

The shape of the candle arch is no longer confined to a traditional arch. Today they may be made as modern triangles, Gothic arches, Erzgebirge arches, trees and arches of stars.

The colours have also become bolder. Whereas in the past candle arches came only in a natural finish, now there are some wonderfully conceived designs, including white ones with roofs glittering with snow that are quite beautiful to look at.

And if from the wide range on offer you cannot find one that appeals to you, you can design your own. We offer a range of empty candle arches to choose from. So, you can for example create your own arrangement in an arch with angels, tiny trees and little incense smokers. You can also create a non-Christmas one with flower children, birds and Easter bunnies.

Candle arch stands

In order to display your candle arch perfectly in a window, you can use a candle arch stand. These can be quite simple, to raise it up to just the right height. But elaborate candle arch bases are also becoming increasingly popular. These usually have electric lighting with an enchanting detailed scene inside the base.

Replacement bulbs for candle arches

Nothing lasts forever, even the bulbs in your candle arch. But this is a problem that is easily fixed. You can get the correct replacement bulbs from our shop. What is important is that the voltage and wattage are the same as the original bulbs. This should be indicated on the bulbs themselves or on the underside of the candle arch. If you are unsure, please contact us.

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