On one of my Birthdays’ road trips, on our way to Munich, we stopped at the Wies Church, the most incredible Rococo Church in Germany. I had seen pictures of it on the web, but nothing prepared me for such beauty.
First let me confirm that yes, we do road trips for my Birthday which happen to be at the beginning of the summer. How convenient!! Second, I completely agree with you if you think Mr A should be head organiser on those! Unfortunately (or maybe not!) it’s not the case. So when we headed to the Wies Church, Mr A, wasn’t too sure about the detour. The biggest surprise was for him, as I had not shown him any picture of the church. And what a surprise!!
The Pilgrimage Church of Wies (Wieskirche in German) is often call the Church in the Meadow, as you will see on some of the pictures below, it’s quite an accurate description. When arriving by the little road that leads to it, it isn’t that impressive. It does look quite big, but the outside of the church being so simple, it doesn’t prepare you to the inside splendor.
Why such an eccentric church in the middle of nowhere?
It all started on June 14, 1738, when tears were seen on the face of the Scourged Savior i.e. a wooden statue of Jesus. It was a miracle that lead to an unexpected crowd to come to see the statue. A first small chapel was built to house the statue but it was far too small, especially since people claimed that they were miraculously cured of their diseases, since praying in front of the statue.
A bigger church was commissioned and Dominikus Zimmermann designed the Wies Church which was built between 1745 and 1754.
The Wieskirche was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983 and underwent extensive restoration between 1985 and 1991.
View of the choir
The Choir is surrounded by an upper and a lower gallery
The altar and statue of the Scourged Savior
Part of the choir ceiling
The church, which is oval in plan, is preceded to the west by a semi-circular narthex and has to the East a deep choir. Notice that the windows are all clear glass. Unlike in many churches where stained glass were used, in the Wies church the glasses were kept simple so the sunlight could bring to life the colours of the paintings and the sculpted details.
The Brotherhood altar
Opposite from the choir, the pipe organ rests above the entrance door. The ceilings, above it, painted in trompe-l’œil gives it all its grandeur.
The ceiling above the nave
The Wies church is a rococo jewel that sits in a exquisite landscape. It is totally worth a little detour or a even a day trip if you are around Munich.
rolling foothills of the southern Bavarian Alps
The Technical Bits:
The official website of the Wieskirche: www.wieskirche.de
The Wies church is a functioning church and celebrates regular worship services.
Concerts are also held in the church at various times during the year.
If you are interested by the restauration work, you can check out the ICOMOS website for details (the link will open the pdf report of their preliminary investigation – super interesting!).
1h30 mn drive from Munich and only 40mn from Neuschwanstein Castle.
If you are feeling a bit lost when visiting churches, do check my mini architecture guides, they will help you with all the technical words.
And they are completely free!