Moravian Winston-Salem, NC: Architecture & Reenactments At Bethabera Park

Bethabara Park: Visit A 19th Century Moravian Village Today!

Watch history come to life at “Bethabara Park” where you can tour the first settlement in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, as it was, in the 18th century, or at least the next best thing. Nestled in Forsyth County are over 183 peaceful acres of nature preserve, historic and newly reconstructed period buildings, a museum, visitor’s center and dozens of costumed re-enactors guaranteed not to be carrying a cell phone! Run by a non-profit organization, this historic landmark is dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of the Moravians who were responsible for the official founding of the town, as part of North Carolina and the United States Of America.

While remaining as historically accurate as possible the site focuses on the time period between 1753 and 1820 where the peace-loving Protestant sect of Moravians met harsh opposition from resident Native American tribes and faced a bitter terrain filled with wolves, bears, wild dogs, and even wilder outlaw types from nearby settlements. You can see how it all began and glimpse into Southern frontier life while marveling at the unique Germanic architecture, pottery and advanced herbal “medical gardens” from one of the first Southern religious settler groups to openly oppose slavery in the Confederate South.

Other highlights include: “Gemeinhaus” the only original European church from the 18th century that still stands in America with the original attached living quarters intact. They are also lucky to have furniture original to the building as well as accurate accompanying refurbished period furniture. “God’s Acre” is the second oldest graveyard in the country still standing today and the “Medical Gardens” represent the first documented and well established colonial medical herb fields in America. The Moravians were also progressive in their environmental concerns and in not disrespecting the forest of the Native Americans. Therefore, the wilderness itself with so many of the same animals and plants that roamed there in 1753 has to be not only a highlight, but also a testament, to why such a peaceful culture is being celebrated for the education and benefit of centuries to come.

Bethabara Park is also the place to come for exciting special events commemorating the seasonal festivals of the Moravians with the “Celtic Festival” in Spring, the “Old Fashioned Independence Day” in Summer, the “Apple Festival” in Fall and the “Four Christmases For Children” in Winter. They also hold special 18th century themed “Barn Dances” and there is a concert series by a 50 piece concert band and choral concerts from the “Piedmont Chamber Singers” that culminate in the special holiday concert in the historic Geimienhaus church. You will also find traditional Native American festivals, Halloween specials for kids, and Highland Games geared towards Scottish and Welsh traditions. Whether you are coming to this national historic site on a school trip or to reflect in the Colonial Gardens “Bethabara Park” is a shining example of what a positive sense of community and history can create in any century.