Exploring The Wieskirch, a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage site in Southern Germany
Since living in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we have been exploring the area on our bikes, enjoying the lovely scenary and learning lots of local history. Rencently, we took our new bikes for a trip to the Wieskirche, about a 50 mile ride.
First time visitors in the Wies, with no previous knowledge about the church, may well stand in wonder and ask themselves what could have possibly given rise to the building of such an unusually magnificent church in such a secluded place.
Indeed, something out of the ordinary, from many points of view, took place here. Human tears, an age-old phenomenon, were the spiritual building stones, the precious pearls from which the Wies Church, a world famous roccoco jewel, was created. In the 18th Century the Wies Church was already known throughout Europe as a place of reverence for the Scourged Saviour, and at the same time a famous gem of baroque architecture.
Even today the church lives from both these wellsprings: its spiritual and artistic richness. Thus, the Wies Church continues as a pilgrimage church, a place of prayer and worship, and is simultaneously a magical drawing point for millions of visitors. Through their encounter with this joyous Baroque, full of life and hope, they sense a world which moved the writer Peter Drfler, in the first half of this century, to write: "The Wies is a bit of heaven in this suffering world."
The exterior is typical Bavarian Rococo with few decorations and serving predominantly to prevent the interior from falling apart. The well-lit interior is magnificent Bavarian Rococothe lower parts of the walls representing earth rather bare with increasing decorations higher up as you approach heaven. It is a symphony of colors with the structural parts of the building masterfully integrated into the artwork. The huge oval cupola is perfectly suited for the painting of the second coming. In addition to Dominikus Zimmermann (architect and stucco artist), several further masters worked on this church including his brother Johann Baptist who did most of the paintings. Dominikus Zimmermann (1685-1766) spent his final ten years in the small house almost at its doorstep as he saw the church as his greatest accomplishment. Many critics go even further and consider this UNESCO Cultural World Heritage site the greatest accomplishment of the Bavarian Rococo.
People from all over the world come to the Wies. Many search for sense in their life and orientation. This church has the power, by its artistic expression and spiritual message, to give them an answer. Bringing into play all of a person's senses, it allows mind and soul to experience the "Good News of the Wies".Message Edited by LL_Travelfan on 08-30-2009 11:23 AM