Pilgrimage Church Käppele

Würzburg, Germany

Käppele is the commonly used name for the church Wallfahrtskirche Mariä Heimsuchung in Würzburg. It was built following plans by Balthasar Neumann in the mid-18th century in Rococo style. It serves as a pilgrimage church and until 2014 was attended to by members of the Capuchins.

The name Käppele is derived from the German word Kapelle (chapel). Originally, a local fisher erected a pietà in what was then a vineyard in 1640. About ten years later, four miracle cures were reported in connection with the statue. Around 1650, a first chapel was built around the pietà. Together with some other reported phenomena, the cures began to attract pilgrims to the site, especially around pentecost. In 1690 and 1713, the original chapel was increased in size. Balthasar Neumann, architect of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Würzburg Residence, then drew up plans for a new church which incorporated the older chapel as the Alte Gnadenkapelle. The foundation stone was laid on 5 April 1748. Construction took until 1750 but the interior furnishings were not finished until 1821. The new chapel was officially inaugurated only on 21 September 1824, due to earlier disruptions caused by securalization of 1803. However, the capuchins already began holding services in 1754.

A way of the cross with 14 stations of the cross marked by small chapels leads up to the Käppele. These were based on an idea by Neumann, but completed only in 1799. The live-sized statue groups (77 figures) were created by Simon and Peter Wagner.

The church's double-towered front and the roof with its cupolas and roof lanterns give it an unusual appearance that distinguishes it from the other churches of Würzburg. The interior features ceiling frescos by Matthäus Günther from 1752 and 1781 and stucco work by Johann Michael Feuchtmayer the Elder. The side altars date to 1768. The neoclassical high altar was made in 1799.

The organ dates to 1752, made by Christian Köhler from Frankfurt. Votive offerings in the Mirakelgang reflect local devoutness and tastes of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Apart from being a tourist attraction, the Käppele remains a popular pilgrimage site, especially at pentecost.

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Details

Founded: 1748
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Emerging States (Germany)

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Misericordia Ceacero (19 months ago)
Nice kapelle ro visit
Ivette Lozada (19 months ago)
Very nice Catholic Church to visit.
George Karabyte (2 years ago)
beautiful place, make sure you climb up the stairs in front to enjoy the scale
Randall Peacock (2 years ago)
The terrace in front of the church is one of the nicest places for a view of the City of Wûrzburg. There is a wonderful pilgrimage footpath that leads from the foot of Leutfresserweg up to the church. The final section of the path includes the 12 stations of the cross. Be sure to check out the small passage with pilgrims offerings at the rear of the church (left side near the steps up to the parking lot.)
Oscar Gonzalez (2 years ago)
Wonderful view of the city and good pick to hike or bike up. There is also a little Cafe where you can get some snacks and drinks. The Church is pretty and well maintained.
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