Religious sites in Bavaria
The Free State simply teems with churches, monasteries, convents and other sacred edifices of many different faiths. Even today, they are still important pilgrimage sites that attest to the deep faith of the people in Bavaria. Most of the monasteries and convents are well preserved, are still inhabited by their orders, and are living witnesses to Bavaria's rich past.
Allgäu / Bavarian Swabia
The Crescentia Convent still has a formative influence on the former free imperial town of Kaufbeuren today. This Franciscan convent is named after its best known abbess. All over Kaufbeuren, your customers can follow in the footsteps of that famous daughter of the town: that includes the town museum, in which she has a room of her own devoted to her, and the house where she was born in the Neue Gasse.
From 1525 to about 1888, Kempten was split down the middle from a religious point of view, into the Protestant imperial town and the Catholic monastery town. Even today, your customers will find many buildings from that period here: for example the St. Mang Church, which has been the landmark of Kempten and the centre of the Reformation movement in the Upper Allgäu for almost 700 years. Or the Kempten Residence with its opulently adorned staterooms, once the seat of the prince-abbot. And then there's the St. Lorenz Basilica. With its twin tower façade and the mighty dome above the choir, it is still an impressive appearance today.
The Benedictine Abbey of Ottobeuren
Without interruption, monks have been living in Ottobeuren since the year 764. The monastery is in the middle of the valley of the western Günz, and is surrounded by spacious farmland, meadows and pastures. The focal point of the complex is the impressive baroque basilica of St. Alexander and St. Theodore. Just under 1,200 figures of angels and children adorn the church. These are complemented by some magnificent stucco work and colourful ceiling frescoes.
Jewish culture in Franconia
Fürth, Würzburg, Bamberg, Bayreuth, Hof, Nuremberg and Erlangen – there are Jewish communities in these Franconian towns and cities. Distinguished museums such as the Jewish Museum of Franconia in Fürth, the Museum of Jewish History and Culture in Aschaffenburg and the Museum Shalom Europa in Würzburg invite visitors to come and explore the history and traditions of the Franconian Jews.
On the Franconian Marienweg
Once upon a time, Bishop of Würzburg and later cardinal Julius Döpfner termed Franconia the 'land of the Virgin Mary'. In both urban and rural areas, there are innumerable Madonnas here, on house walls, wayside shrines, chapels in fields and woods and some 100 places of pilgrimage consecrated to St. Mary, Mother of Jesus. Over a length of 2,000 kilometres, in several loops, hiking trails on the Franconian Way of St. Mary connect them up
This former episcopal city features many sacred edifices designed by the great baroque architect Balthasar Neumann (1687-1753), for example the Schönborn chapel next to St. Kilian's Cathedral and the Käppele (the pilgrimage church on the Nikolausberg). And the architect was also involved in the design of the massive Marienberg Fortress high up above the city. It was once the seat of the Würzburg prince-bishops.
The Marian pilgrimage site of Altötting
Religious people have already been undertaking pilgrimages to Altötting for approximately 1,200 years, and this town 90 kilometres east of Munich has been the principal Marian pilgrimage site in the German-speaking countries for some 500 years. The reason for that is the statue of the Black Madonna, which was carved on the Upper Rhine in the early Gothic style out of lime wood or conifer wood in about 1330.
The 'Holy Mountain of Bavaria' is one of the state's most popular places of pilgrimage. The characteristic onion dome of the monastery church can already be seen from a long way off. Here, your customers ought not to miss the ceiling fresco by Johann Baptist Zimmermann, the collection of relics, or the brewery. Today, it is one of the last monastic breweries still to be run by monks.
The Benedictine monastery in Benediktbeuern
Since it was founded in about 740, the former Benedictine monastery in Benediktbeuern has been among the oldest of its kind in Bavaria. The most famous works in the monastery library are the Carmina Burana manuscripts, the largest collection of secular and spiritual mediaeval songs in Europe. Particularly well worth seeing in the monastery, which is over 1,200 years old, are the monastery church and today's basilica, the high-baroque ceiling fresco and the altar.
The baroque, episcopal and university town of Eichstätt is right in the heart of the Altmühl Valley Nature Park. Here, there are magnificent churches and monasteries awaiting your customers, for example Eichstätt Cathedral, the sacred centre of the town. Various different architectural styles and the relics of St. Willibald make the cathedral one of the major attractions in Eichstätt. The Abbey of St. Walburga and the Church of the Guardian Angel are also worth seeing.
Right in the middle of the Chiemsee, on the Fraueninsel (ladies' island), which has an area of 15 hectares, lies the convent of Benedictine nuns known as Frauenwörth. The last duke Tassilo III of Agilolfing founded a convent on this second-largest island in the Chiemsee in about 766. Until today, the nuns have run a conference centre and a liqueur cellar there. They are also happy to take customers through the church, the abbesses' passageway and the entrance hall, and around the island too.
The monastery at Ettal and the Oberammergau Passion Play
In 1330, Emperor Ludwig IV founded the Benedictine monastery Ettal, in which monks still live today, in the seclusion of the Werdenfelser Land. Of great importance above all for the monastery is the figure of St. Mary in the basilica adorned in gold. The region around the monastery too has devoted itself completely to the faith: every ten years, the people of Oberammergau perform a play about Christ's passion, death and resurrection. The next one is due to take place in 2022.
The Ohel Jakob synagogue
The main synagogue, the Jewish Museum and the Jewish community house are right in the heart of Munich. They are all united in a single building which, by its modern architecture, forms a contrast to the religion itself, which has existed for thousands of years. Those who wish to learn more about the history and architecture of this building can go on one of the regular guided tours.
Aldersbach Abbey has one of Bavaria's most beautiful churches of St. Mary, for the interior design of which the Asam brothers were responsible. Even today, it is among the most eminent baroque buildings in southern Germany. The former Cistercian monastery developed around the church, which was already standing here as early as 875. Today, the premises are home to the Aldersbach Abbey brewery, a tavern, a restaurant, some guest rooms, the town hall and a concert auditorium.
The Benedictine Metten Abbey
The monastery in Metten was first founded in the year 766, but during its history it was dissolved and refounded on several occasions. Today, your customers will find numerous frescoes, extensive stucco work and many paintings from the late baroque and Rococo periods in the church, the library and the ceremonial hall. Also worth seeing is the prelate's garden, which is about 5 hectares in area and has been set out in the style of a late baroque pleasance. Since 1830, the monastery has been home to a secondary school.
For centuries now, Judaism, Christianity and Islam have all been making their mark on Regensburg. A monument on the Neupfarrplatz reminds us today of what was once Germany's largest Jewish community. Until today, Christianity has been represented in the form of numerous churches, an inherent part of the city. Your customers will be able to obtain an overview of all this on the guided tour entitled 'Grüss Gott, Schalom, Salam'.