The Amana Colonies  are a collection of seven villages in eastern Iowa, founded by German settlers 150 years ago. The people in these villages actively maintain many of the cultural traditions of their ancestors.
In 1855, a group of German settlers decided to buy some 18,000 acres of land in eastern Iowa. These settlers, whose spirituality was marked by a strong belief in mysticism and communal life, sought to practice their religion in isolation. The Great Depression made it impossible for the villages to continue their isolation, and the Amana people voted to end their communal life and build economic ties with the outside world. To this day, these people still maintain the traditional industries--woolen textiles, meats and cheeses, furniture--that their ancestors brought over from Germany.
One of the main attractions of the Amana Colonies are its restaurants, featuring old German recipes and family-style service. Several of these well-known restaurants are housed in former communal dining houses from the earlier period. Many attract bus tours from considerable distances for a meal in the Amana Colonies.