Ah - beautiful Wieskirche! In a peaceful meadow near Steingaden at the southern end of the Romantic Road lies the fabulous Wieskirche (Wies Church) or Pilgrimage Church of Wies.
Also known as "The Church in the Meadow", Wieskirche is one of the most famous Baroque churches in the world and is considered one of the most beautiful. Replete with Rococo sculptures and frescos, Wieskiche's splendor is unparalleled. The church and its bucolic location in the rolling foothills of the southern Bavarian Alps evoke a strong feeling of reverence and awe.
The history of Wieskirche began on June 14, 1738 when it is said that tears were seen on a wooden statue of the crucified Christ situated in a field in the small hamlet of Wies. The news quickly spread and masses of pilgrims from all over the world began traveling to Wieskirche to see the statue and to worship and pray. Therefore, in 1740, a small chapel, still on the property today, was built to house the statue and to accommodate the visiting worshippers.
As the number of pilgrims visiting the site greatly exceeded the small dwelling, the nearby Steingaden Abbey decided to build a church - the current Wieskirche. So in the 1740s, the magnificent Baroque structure was designed by Dominikus Zimmermann and built by Abbot Marianus II Mayer.
Zimmermann so loved Wieskirche that he could not bear to leave it, so he built himself a small house next to the church, where he lived until his death. We can understand Zimmermann's dilema as spending time at Wieskirche was certainly a highlight on our tour of Bavaria!
Each year thousands of people from around the world visit Wieskirche. Many come to appreciate the baroque architecture and intricate Rococo artwork created by Dominikus Zimmermann and his brother Johann Baptist Zimmermann of Wessobrunnin. Others come as those did in days past, to experience the spiritual power of Wieskirche and to worship, pray, and to seek meaning and direction in their lives.
In 1983, Wieskirche was honored by the United Nations in 1983 by being added to the World Heritage List maintained by UNESCO. Click here to see a large verison of the photograph above in a new browser window. (Link goes to Wikimedia Commons; public domain photo by Mattana.)
Wieskirche is a functioning church and celebrates regular worship services. Days and times vary by season, but a schedule can be found on the official Wieskirche listed below. Concerts are also held in the church at various times during the year.
The official name of the church is Pilgrimage Church of the Scourged Saviour - or Wallfahrtskirche zum Gegeißelten Heiland auf der Wies.
While in the area, stop in the nearby resort village of Steingaden. Stroll through the historic market town and see Welfenmünster, the church of the former Steingaden Monastery. The monastery was consecrated in 1176 and the present buildings that remain were built in the 17th century.
Visit the official Wieskirche website for more information. There is an English version of the site available.
Please see our new webpage, Photographs of Wieskirche - the Church in the Meadow, for some lovely, large pictures of this magnificent church.
If you do plan to travel to Germany, be sure to read our homepage Traveling in Germany for general information, handy tips, and links to helpful websites to assist in your trip planning.