The Wieskirche 

Visiting the Wieskirche, the Pilgrimage Church of Wies, was another highlight of our road trip. Thanks to Google, we did know what to expect from this 18th century church. Still, seeing the actual place with our own eyes, which was world famous for being the epitome of a Rococo style, was exciting and unforgettable. One poet who visited there was so moved and described it as “The Wies is a bit of heaven in this suffering world.”

From Schwangau to Steingaden, in where the church was located, took about thirty minutes. We left the hotel shortly after nine…

We set off for the church from the car park via an immaculately kept gravelled path around 9:40.
Unlike the congestion around Neuschwanstein Castle we experienced the previous day, the vicinity of the church was serene and quiet…

The car park nearby was ample yet very empty. We assumed the church could be as crowded as the castle if our visit was timed any later. Our advice: Visit the church early as the place opens from 8 am.

The Wieskirche was listed as one of the locations of the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983. The church was originally built by two brothers, J. B. and Dominikus Zimmermann in 1749.

We pushed a heavy wooden door to enter the church.

The west side of the wall which accommodated a piped organ above was undergoing a restoration work, and scaffolding surrounding it barred the visitors to approach the nave of this oval-shaped church directly. We walked around it and sat on one of the pews and gazed at the altar from the distance first.

A panoramic view of the church interior…

What a Rococo extravaganza! Mum and I sighed. Probably, the prettiest church in the world!! We did understand why the poet was moved by the sight. The place was indeed heavenly.

The Residenz at Augsburg was another Rococo extravaganza, but this church surpassed it in my opinion.

The ceiling with trompe l’œil, which made the Wieskirche so famous, did not betray our expectation…

The world outside may be a horrible place. However, the inside of the church is a full of peace and hope, we murmured.

In a typical Rococo style, the church was full of elaborate stucco and plaster works. They were skilfully coloured in manifold of hues, most notably in gold…

Aren’t they amazing?

Legend has it that tears were seen on a dilapidated wooden figure of the Scourged Saviour in 1738. This phenomenon started a flood of pilgrims which swamped a small chapel which then accommodated the statue. A local monastery, Steingaden Abbey, realised that it needed a separate shrine, therefore, decided to commission a new church. The construction started in 1745 and it was completed in 1754.

The present figure being presented in glorious splendour…

Astonishingly, this divinely beautiful church once faced total demolition in the 19th century. Under relentless pressure from the revolutionary France and Napoleon, who advocated the spirit of the secularization of society, the church was nearly destroyed by the Bavarian government. In the end, protests from the local farmers saved the shrine from demolition.

Once we were out of the church, we saw their neighbours. Three ponies…

Are your owners a descendent of the brave farmers who saved this treasure?

A dog was waiting for its owner in the shade…

By the church, there was a small cafe/restaurant which had a good review in Google. Unfortunately, we had a large German breakfast at the hotel and were not remotely hungry. Otherwise, we would have had their famed Wiesküchen, Bavarian donut…

We saw hens pecking the ground. Do you supply eggs to the restaurant?

Houses around the church were pretty…

Now, we are heading for a town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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