ALTÖTTING

THE HEART OF BAVARIA

For more than 1250 years, this town has been the spiritual center of Bavaria and for over 500 years the most significant pilgrimage site in Germany in the veneration of the Virgin Mary. Each year over 1 million pilgrims and visitors are drawn to the “Black Madonna”, a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary.

Opposite the altar the hearts of the Bavarian dukes, kings and electors are stored in richly decorated silver urns as a special sign of their deep and loyal ties to the Bavarian National Shrine. Among them is the heart of the “fairy tale king” Ludwig II. Due to the strong sentiments which the Bavarian people and their sovereigns have for the sanctuary of “Our Lady of Altötting”, the town was dubbed the “Heart of Bavaria”.

Preceded by Pope Pius VI in 1782 and Pope John Paul II in 1980, more recently Pope Benedict XVI visited what he referred to as his “spiritual homeland”. Two years later, as a token of his great esteem for the Marian shrine, he conferred the town with the Golden Rose.

A visit to Altoetting should include a visit to the Jerusalem Panorama – a monumental cyclorama showing the Crucifixion of Christ. One should not miss the Treasury and Pilgrimage Museum which houses the bridal wreath of the famous Austrian Empress “Sissi” that she donated to the Madonna of Altötting. The St. Mary´s Association’s “Exhibition of Dioramas” shows 22 dioramas which represent the history of pilgrimage in Altötting.

The pilgrimage town of Altötting is located in the lovely Upper-Bavarian Alpine region between Munich, Passau and Salzburg and just a short distance from lake Chiemsee with the famous fairytale castle, Herrenchiemsee.

The region around Altötting can be explored on foot on the numerous pilgrimage routes like St. James’s Way or by bicycle on the Benedict Trail, connecting the places where Pope em. Benedict XVI spent his childhood and youth.

YOUR LOCAL CONTACT

Pilgrimage and Tourist Office

Kapellplatz 2a

84503 Altötting

E-Mail: touristinfo (at) altoetting.de

Phone: +49 (0)8671 5062-19

www.altoetting.de

TOP 5 SIGHTS IN ALTÖTTING

Chapel of Grace with the sanctuary, the Black Madonna

The core construction of the church, the octagonal tower, presumably dates back to the year 700. Thus, it may be one of the oldest central and clerical constructions in Germany. More than 2000 unique votive pictures, each telling a story about gratefulness for received help, adorn the walkway of the Chapel. Inside the chapel, you can find further votive pictures and in the middle of the beautifully decorated altar, the statue of Our Lady of Altötting can be found. The statue originally is from Burgundy or the Upper Rhine region and came to Altötting in 1330. Opposite the Altar, the hearts of the Bavarian prince-electors and kings are laid to rest in beautifully decorated silver urns.

Basilica of St. Anne

The Basilica of St. Anne is the newest Church you can find around the Chapel Square and also the biggest one. Built from 1910 to 1912 it impresses with a height of 24 meters and a length of 83 meters and can hold up to 8,000 people. Pope Pius X proclaimed it a papal basilica in 1913

Collegiate Parish Church

The now existing church was completed in 1511. It is already the third church building at this place with the oldest origins dating back to the years 876-877 when King Karlmann the great-grandson of King Charlemagne built a first basilica. Most impressive in this church is a little skeleton, the “Tod von Eding” which can be translated as “Death of Altötting”. The skeleton with a scythe stands on top of a huge cabinet clock dating back to the times of the plague and is a beautiful example of a memento mori statue. 

Church of St. Konrad

Next to the Chapel of Grace and the statue of Our Lady of Altötting, you can find a second very popular shrine in Altötting: The tomb of the holy brother Conrad in the Church of St. Conrad. Johann Birndorfer was a 31 year old layperson and farmer from the region near Altötting. He entered the Capuchin monastery in 1849 and was given the name brother Conrad. He worked for more than 40 years as gatekeeper of the monastery. As he was beatified and canonized in 1930 and 1934 by Pope Pius XI, this was a statement to favour silent service to others, gentleness and respect for all people in contrast to the then existing national socialist ideology. 

Museums: Jerusalem Panorama crucifixion of Christ, Treasury and Pilgrimage Museum, diorama exhibit and incense museum Kilwing

You are a huge fan of museums? Then you are in the right place. When visiting Altötting make sure to visit the following museums. The Jerusalem Panorama crucifixion of Christ is one of the very few historic panorama painting throughout the world that still exists. Dating back to 1903 the museum shows Jerusalem and the crucifixion of Christ and is only lit by natural daylight. You’ll feel like travelling back in time when visiting the museum. The treasury and pilgrimage museums shows the wealth of precious objects donated to Our Lady of Altötting throughout the more than 500 years of pilgrimage. Children and also grown-ups love the Diorama exhibit which show is a beautiful way early scenes from Altöttings pilgrimage history. To round the museum visits of, be ready to smell the beautiful scent of incense at the incense museum Kilwing. Try out different mixtures and find out more about the production of this holy fragrance.

HOW TO GET HERE?

BY PLANE

MUNICH AIRPORT

www.munich-airport.de

SALZBURG AIRPORT

www.salzburg-airport.com

BY TRAIN

Good connection between Munich airport and Altötting

www.bahn.com