Oberammergau, famously known for its Passion Plays since 1634

Heading from my Hotel in Füssen to Oberammergau, I had a full day planned ahead. This time it took me to this city in the Bavarian Alps that is known for its Passion Plays. It started over 400 years ago, with performances that have been taken place every ten years

The Passion Play House

The history goes back to almost 400 years ago. The bubonic plague (black death) raged in many parts of Europe and did not stop at Oberammergau. To put an end to the misery, the people of Oberammergau decided to take a vow. In 1633, they swore to perform the suffering and death of Christ every ten years, provided no one dies of the plague. The village was heard, and so the people of Oberammergau played the first Passion Play in 1634 and kept their promise to this day

The 2020 Passion Play had to be postponed by two years due to the corona pandemic. The 42nd Passion Play will now take place from May 14th to October 2nd, 2022.

Below: Passionsspiele Oberammergau 1900 (per Wikimedia)

Passionsspiele Oberammergau 1900 Wikimedia
Passionsspiele Oberammergau 1900 (per Wikimedia)

The Pilatushaus

This home below has frescoes by Franz Seraph Zwinck and offers live demonstrations by wood carvers and artists.

Pilatushaus, Oberammergau (Wikimedia)

In the “Living Workshop” of the the Pilatushaus on the ground floor, which is open to all visitors, you have the opportunity to look over the shoulder of the various artisans and to find out more about the work in conversation. Centuries ago the “Kraxntrager” made such carvings, pottery, jumping jacks, behind glass pictures and much more.

The Kölblhaus

The nearby Kölblhaus has a flat gable roof and a facade also painted by Zwinck. Wood carvings by local artists are exhibited in the Oberammergau Museum. The Kölblhaus is located at the Ettaler Straße 10

Painted House Facades

The colorful design of the house facades (Lüftmalerei) should convey the illusion of architecture that represents columns, staircases, windows and doors that did not exist in reality, but has figurative representations and decorative elements on flat exterior surface or wall. In the depiction of Saints and biblical scenes, personal protective needs and piety of the Catholic population were expressed.

Hotel Wolf

Very inviting with the flowering window boxes is the Hotel Wolf at the Dorfstr. 1. This colorful home is sitting at the corner at the Othmar-Weis-Straße, not far from the Passion Playhouse. I did not stay the night this time, but might will take it into consideration later.

St. Peter and Paul Church

I walked by this Parish Church with its impressive stucco decoration and beautiful ceiling and wall frescoes. I read it is one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Bavaria, and I have to agree.

I was able to see expressive late baroque art with main reference to the Passion of Christ and the namesake Peter and Paul. Frescoes in the choir show how the rosary is presented to St. Dominic, and on another wall you can see Mary receiving the angel’s greeting.

While looking up, I could see a story being told on the central dome. The apostles Peter and Paul bid farewell to a dungeon, execution and acceptance into the multitude of saints who are grouped around Christ and his cross.

It is believed that a previous church in the pre-Romanesque style was built in the 9th century, which probably replaced an even older wooden church. In the High Middle Ages, the church was finally replaced by a neo-Gothic one. After this became dilapidated, the baroque building, the current Catholic parish church St. Peter and Paul was built in the 18th century. The organ of the parish church was built in 1893 and later enlarged.

The Hauptstrasse (Mainstreet)

Walking down the Hauptstrasse I saw a couple of kiosks where I found some funny wooden signs

A Postcard of the Haupstrasse from 1918, and a picture I took in September 2020

The Kreuzkirche

A few Protestants lived next to the majority of catholics in the Ammergau Alps. Refugees arrived after WWl. And with the refugees came the desire and to build their own church. An old farmhouse in Oberammergau was bought in 1927 and converted into a church, including with a stable and the barn. And to this day, the building looks like a cozy farmhouse with a tower. The small church invites locals and guests to pause. They named it the Kreuzkirche.

Kreuzkirche, Oberammergau

There has been a Protestant church in Oberammergau since 1928. It stands invitingly on the way from the town center to the Passion Playhouse. For her 90th birthday the Kreuzkirche has been renovated and re-inaugurated in a festive service

The Ammergauer Krippenstube

Today a souvenir shop that has an extensive assortment of nativity figures and stables. It carries sacred figures, crosses and Angels, but also ordinary figures such as night watchmen, clowns and musicians

The Ludwig Thoma House

When I walked through Oberammergau I passed one of the most beautiful houses in town, it was the house where Ludwig Thoma was born. It is well worth seeing and you stand in front of it for a while.

Ludwig Thoma (born January 21, 1867 in Oberammergau; † August 26, 1921 in Tegernsee) was a German writer who became popular thanks to his realistic and satirical descriptions of everyday life in Bavaria and the political events of his time.

The sign on the house reads: On JANUARY 21, 1867 the Swabian daughter of a Guesthouse owner in Oberammergau, Katharina Thoma, born Pfeiffer, and the wife of the district forester Max Thoma, gave this house to the poet LUDWIG THOMA and the Bavarian homeland and German people. (I literally translated it, hope it makes sense)

After doing a little shopping I turned left on the Hauptstrasse and walked by this beautiful house and an empty Biergarten that was closed due to Covid

It was early afternoon, I concluded my walk through Oberammergau. My next destination was the Linderhof Palace and Gardens