Steingaden, Germany

The Pilgrimage Church of Wies (Wieskirche) is an oval rococo church, designed in the late 1740s by Dominikus Zimmermann. It is located in the foothills of the Alps in the municipality of Steingaden.

The sanctuary of Wies is a pilgrimage church extraordinarily well-preserved in the beautiful setting of an Alpine valley, and is a perfect masterpiece of Rococo art and creative genius, as well as an exceptional testimony to a civilization that has disappeared.

The hamlet of Wies, in 1738, is said to have been the setting of a miracle in which tears were seen on a simple wooden figure of Christ mounted on a column that was no longer venerated by the Premonstratensian monks of the Abbey. A wooden chapel constructed in the fields housed the miraculous statue for some time. However, pilgrims from Germany, Austria, Bohemia, and even Italy became so numerous that the Abbot of the Premonstratensians of Steingaden decided to construct a splendid sanctuary. Consequently, work began in 1745 under the direction of the celebrated architect, Dominikus Zimmermann, who was to construct, in this pastoral setting in the foothills of the Alps, one of the most polished creations of Bavarian Rococo. The choir was consecrated in 1749, and the remainder of the church finished by 1754. That year, Dominikus Zimmermann left the city of Landsberg to settle in Wies near his masterpiece, in a new house where he died in 1766.

The church, which is oval in plan, is preceded to the west by a semi-circular narthex. Inside, twin columns placed in front of the walls support the capriciously cut-out cornice and the wooden vaulting with its flattened profile; this defines a second interior volume where the light from the windows and the oculi is cleverly diffused both directly and indirectly. To the east, a long deep choir is surrounded by an upper and a lower gallery.A unique feature is the harmony between art and the countryside. All art forms and techniques used - architecture, sculpture, painting, stucco work, carving, ironwork, etc. - were melded by the architect into a perfect, unified whole, in order to create a diaphanous spatial structure of light and form. The remarkable stucco decoration is the work of Dominikus Zimmermann, assisted by his brother Johann Baptist - who was the painter of the Elector of Bavaria, Max-Emmanuel, from 1720. The lively colours of the paintings bring out the sculpted detail and, in the upper areas, the frescoes and stuccowork interpenetrate to produce a light and living decor of unprecedented richness and refinement. The abundance of motifs and figures, the fluidity of the lines, the skilful opening of surfaces, and the 'lights' continually offer the observer fresh surprises. The ceilings painted in trompe-l'œil appear to open to an iridescent sky, across which, angels fly, contributing to the overall lightness of the church as a whole.



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Wies, Steingaden, Germany
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Founded: 1745-1754
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Emerging States (Germany)


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Malissa F (9 months ago)
You can’t help feeling closer to the Lord just walking into the beautiful church. Everyone was so respectful and felt at awe looking at all the detailed pictures and statues. I even gave my euros to light a candle to bless my family.
Cheryl Stamper (9 months ago)
This church is so beautiful. There are carving in the pew rails dating back to the 1800's. The art wood is beautiful. A must see on the Edelweiss tour.
Robert Cooper (9 months ago)
Church in the middle of nowhere. Nothing special to see from from the outside. But WOW! What a treasure of surprises inside. The artwork is spectacular. Intricate and delicate from floor to ceiling. Don't pass it by. You won't be disappointed
Emilia Stammler (11 months ago)
The Pilgrimage Church of Wies (Wieskirche) was designed in the late 1740s by brothers Zimmermann. It is located in the foothills of the Alps, in Steingaden in Bavaria. Since 1983 it is under the protection of UNESCO because of its outstanding rococo architecture. It is not very large, but it’s interior is superb!
Prathamesh Sawant (11 months ago)
the Pilgrimage Church of Wies, or Wieskirche in German, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a stunning example of Rococo architecture. It's located in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, near the village of Wies in southwestern Germany. The church was built in the mid-18th century as a result of a miraculous event that reportedly took place there. The interior of the church is decorated with elaborate stucco work and frescoes, and it features a magnificent altar and pulpit. The Pilgrimage Church of Wies is known for its unique and harmonious design, which blends Rococo and Baroque styles to create a truly breathtaking space. It's also famous for its excellent acoustics, making it a popular venue for classical music concerts and performances. Visitors to the church can take guided tours or explore the space on their own. It's a popular pilgrimage site, particularly during the summer months, and attracts visitors from all over the world. If you're interested in art, architecture, or religious history, the Pilgrimage Church of Wies is definitely worth a visit.
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