Hi again, long time not seen (on new trips, isn't?).
But today, dear friends and visitors, you can make a new trip by airport-shuttle-Munich
through Bavaria and we will visit the home of the Black Virgin
- she lives since the year 1330 in Altoetting, a marvellous little
town in Upper Bavaria.
For new visitors or those, who only know Bavaria, a small explanation.
Bavaria is the biggest state of Germany, but there are several districts
like Frankonia, Lower Bavaria, Upper Bavaria, Swabia or the Allgaeu.
In Upper Bavaria you can find in my travel guide
a lot of wonderful places to view like Fuessen
(with the dreamcastle of Neuschwanstein), Berchtesgaden,
Schongau or the 5-lakes-area
But today we will visit a very old historical place,
the town Altoetting. If you are going to a Danube cruise starting in
Passau, you will mostly arrive
Bavaria at the Munich airport Franz Josef Strauß.
From there I can drive you with my airportshuttle also to that town,
when your plane is arriving early in the morning. The distance from
the airport is nearly the same like from Munich, if you should stay
there, about 60 miles or 90 km. Both drives are leading us through
nice landscape views. Oh, by the way, a few kilometers far away is
the birth town of the Pope Benedikt XVI, he will visit Altoetting too
Let us go a little bit back in history: in the times of the Romans
ruling nearly whole Europe the location of Altoetting has like other
ones Roman troups stationed and they had there a temple named the
seven planets. This was long before Jesus Christ was born. And
on exactly that place later on was buildt a christian baptizing chapel.
Around 500 after Jesus Christ the town Altoetting
was founded and documented. Three centuries later the town was raised
up as the king's residence of King Karlmann.
The Romans, the king and his followers are all gone but since 1330
around there is still a nice lady living in Altoetting,
the Black Virgin. The picture shows you her house with
the shrine, the Marienkapelle, chapel of Mary.
Some of yours maybe will ask, why that statue of
St. Mary is called Black Virgin? There are two explanations,
the first is very scientic and says, the handcrafted statue is made
from very hard wood, which very fast takes over the smokes of the candles
and so the colour is coming from.
But people in Altoetting will tell you, that the colour is her own
will. I asked some citizens and they told me, two times the statue
was cleaned and white, but only one day later it was black again without
candles smoke so that's a small miracle by St. Mary.
And you know, holy places can have miracles otherwise they would not
be holy places. For example, the chapel standing there since 700 years
was the only building in the year of 907, what was not burned down
as the Hungarians destroyed the town in war.
Then, in the year 1489, a child fell in the river
and was found dead after half an hour. They brought it to St. Mary
in the chapel and the child became alive again. Another miracle was
a six years old boy, deadly pressed by his fathers haytruck. Praying
to St. Mary he was alive and well next day. And there are much more
signs of help, you can see that on Thank-you-plates all
around the chapel and in the inside.
Here somebody had a bad accident in wintertimes
and he was safed, that says the script on the plate. I tried to make
you one picture, but it was not easy whithout disturbing the pilgrims.
Each year nearly one million pilgrims are coming to the Black Virgin
and each day you can see people going around the chapel with a wooden
cross on the shoulders. That is the symbol for any problem and they
are praying to St. Mary that she should help and it seems, she mostly
If pilgrim or only visitor, the most people feel a big respect on that
place.But you know, there are always people whith no respect for nothing
and so two times St. Mary escaped for these bad guys.
One time in the year 1632, as the Swedish army during
the 30-years-war in Germany was attacking the castled town. The defendors
were not sure if they can resist and so they smuggle the Black Virgin
to Salzburg in the safe castle of the bishop there.
And the second time the statue was hidden in the
monastery of Kelheim in 1919, as the kommunist revolution started in
Bavaria - but only for a few month, then troups from northern Germany
pushed the red guys away.
There would be much more to tell about history but I don't want to
bore you. You can see a lot of them in the church at the side, for
example there is a treasure room with a marvellous golden-silver work
including pearls, the golden horse from 1404. Or the tombs
of King Karlmann or the big general Tilly or a huge clock with a moving
sceleton on top.
People who likes woodcrafting should visit the mechanical
crippe, there are over 100 woodcrafted figures and a lot of them move
and show the live in Palaestine around the time when Jesus was born.
This cabinet exists since 1925 and is a great attraction.
Nice restaurants - here in front of the Basilica - with really nice
employers offer a lot of good food and the prices are not high. For
people looking for silent areas even Altoetting and the small towns
around are excellent for holidays, you can walk or bike, distances
to Salzburg or Munich are not far, but the whole area is not crowded.
Maybe you take a look at the website of the town, they offer much more
informations and events as I can do. Here you have the website- and
mail-adress of the Pilgrims- and Touristoffice from Altoetting: http://www.altoetting.de
or mail to: email@example.com
So, now it's your decision, shall we go sometimes to Altoetting? I
would really enjoy to show you that marvellous town with the Black
Virgin and I like to have nice guests on board. If
you like, send me a mail and fast response is promised (in case you
got none, then take the fax, sometimes the guys around Bill Gates eat
with best regards, our George
And last but not least, if you like to search
on my page more or in the internet,
then you'll find at the bottom the marvellous
search-help by Google.
Script by J.W.Lohfink,
for any mistakes in spell or grammar I apologize as a precaution, corrections,
questions or comments please mail to me.
>> German version