Being of German descent, I’m completely enamored with the whole country. It’s abundant in quaint and picturesque villages that capture your heart and exhilarate your senses. While in Bavaria, we made our way to one of the most celebrated villages in Germany, Oberammergau. Oberammergau has a world-famous reputation for its open-air Passion Play. Every ten years since 1634, the villagers perform this play as a commitment to God. They vowed that if God spared them from the bubonic plague, they would produce a play thereafter for all time depicting the life and death of Jesus.
But for us, we were there to enjoy the ambience and frescos. We stayed at the Hotel Wittelsbach and loved its coziness. There were lots of amenities and shops close by to get food and souvenirs. The name Wittelsbach stems from King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who is from the house of Wittelsbach. You may have heard of him as being referred to as mad King Ludwig. But, that’s a whole other story. I write more about him in another post.
We strolled through the alley’s and side streets and were in awe at the traditional artwork most homes boasted. We also loved the charming Alpine-style chalets. Every house, balcony, and terrace were punctuated with lots of overflowing brightly colored flower boxes; it really added to the atmosphere.
Luftl (Luftmalerei) fresco paintings are the characteristic decorations on houses in Alpine regions. They date back to the 18th century when wealthy merchants, farmers, and craftsmen showed their wealth and status with colorful frescoes on the façade of their houses. These paintings often incorporated existing architectural structures, such as windows or doors, or took the form of medallions or scenes from the Bible, fairy tales, or folk festivals.
Every home has its own specific story, so you won’t find the same image on any other house. Many frescos are based on nursery rhymes. The colors are vivid and the paintings realistic. Skilled artists are hired to create the artwork and maintain them throughout the years from environmental wear and tear.
Equally as fascinating are the numerous woodcarving adorning many homes inside and out. Individuals actually go to woodcarving school for four years to perfect this skill.
There are so many things to do in Oberammergau that you could spend a week there and still not get everything in. Big on many people list is visiting the Catholic Parish Church – St Peter and Paul. This amazing church was built in the 18th C and is one of the most beautiful village churches in Upper Bavaria. The inside is stunningly beautiful – many frescos on the ceiling and walls; the alter will take your breath away too.
There are many guided walking, hiking, and bike tours, or you can go on your own. The paths are easy to follow, and they offer trails from gentle saunters to arduous hiking treks. Make sure you bring proper footwear; you’ll need them. Walking through the valley’s, along the river, and through the forest is an experience you’ll never forget. The scenery is spectacular, and the air is uber clean.
Oberammergau also has a museum that will take you deep into the town’s history. Or how about taking a ride on the historically nostalgic cable car in Oberammergau up the Laber. The Laber is Oberammergau’s very own mountain, while not one of the highest peaks in the Bavarian Alps, it’s certainly is the one with the best view! The cable car takes you to the top of the Laber in total comfort; you’ll go up to the height of 1684 m from the Oberammergau district of St. Gregor. The ride is delightful and the panoramic views are breathtaking.
If you get a chance to visit Germany and want a unique experience, Oberammergau offers it to the max.