• Pilgrimage Church of Wies

Visit: 10th March 2018

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Last autumn two of my friends, Gokul and KC, moved to Munich to start new jobs. They joined Ross, Nowell and me in Bremen in January – but now it was time to meet them in Munich. The plan was not to stay in Munich but to hire a car and get out on the road, visiting four countries and two World Heritage Sites in one weekend.

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We spent the first night in rural Bavaria, where the only bar within a 20 mile radius that was open past midnight was run by some gentlemen from Tennessee. The next morning we were up early to visit the Wies Kirche. Located in southern Germany close to the Austrian border and the Alps, it is an isolated church located apart from any town or village. This was I think done deliberately in order for it to benefit from the bucolic scenery that surrounds it.

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Though small, the church is a fine example of the Rococo style. Built in the mid-18th century, this was a time when painters produced little of lasting significance, ceding the stage to architects and composers. The church was constructed as a site of pilgrimage after the area begun to be visited by people who had heard of the local statue of Jesus that wept. Originally made as an ordinary carving of Christ in chains, it was considered too graphic for the local community and hidden away. A local woman decided to store it in her bedroom (a little creepy?) but was shocked one day when tears emerged from its eyes. The church today houses the famous statue and has been visited by countless Christian pilgrims ever since.

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Gokul declared himself “very disappointed” with the church on account of its size, and I suppose I can see where he was coming from. The ornateness of the carvings and the colour and detail in the ceiling make it quite special, though, even if it is more compact than most famous church buildings. Perhaps that was why we were the only ones visiting at the time?

After finishing at the church (which was free to enter) we got back in the car and headed on toward Switzerland, Austria and the Alpine foothills around Lake Constance.

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4 thoughts on “• Pilgrimage Church of Wies

  1. Heather Leach

    Thank you Tom. This is certainly a fine rococo church. How interesting that it was in an isolated position. You said that you were going to drive in 4 countries in one weekend, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and….which is the 4th?

    Lake Constance, or the Bodensee as it is called in German, is a very special place to me. I had my 16th birthday there. The Bodensee and much of Southern Germany was a very romantic place to me.

    Heather, your auntie.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: • Abbey of St Gall | Tom's World Heritage Site travel blog

  3. Richard

    A different reason for an isolated church then. I thought it was usually because the locals contributed to a fine solid church but lived in flimsy and temporary structures, so the church remains the last building standing.

    Reply

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