Every ten years the Upper Bavarian municipality of Oberammergau hosts one of the most traditional performances in Germany, the Oberammergau Passion Play. The performances are not only the most famous passion plays in the world, since 2014 they have also been part of the nationwide register of intangible cultural heritage, which, like the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is of particular importance for the preservation of intangible values.
The first performance took place in 1634, when, after a devastating year of plague, the townspeople had vowed to regularly perform a passion play if they were freed from the plague. This tradition has continued to this day, despite temporary bans, including in the 18th century by the clergy of Elector Maximilian III. Joseph, held, and still nearly the entire ward is attending the games.
The text, which has been continuously expanded and redesigned over time, focuses on the last five days in the life of Christ; depending on the staging, there are also living images with scenes from the Old Testament or from the history of the games. After the Second Vatican Council at the end of the 1960s, which documented that the Jews are not guilty of Jesus’ death, the image of the Jews in the play was fundamentally revised at the request of the Catholic Church with the cooperation of various Jewish organizations. The music of the Passion Play, on the other hand, which comes from the pen of Oberammergau teacher and composer Rochus Dedler (1779–1822), has remained the same since it was first performed in 1810.
The planning and rehearsals for the Oberammergau Passion Play always begin several years before the performances. The whole community is entitled to vote in the selection of the director, actors and staging. The games not only represent an important cultural and religious tradition, they also represent an important economic factor with their more than 500,000 visitors from all over the world. Above all, the Passion Play Oberammergau is suitable for every visitor due to the dedication and intensity of its actors unforgettable experience.
Regensburg is one of the oldest German cities and has been continuously settled since Celtic times. The capital of the Upper Palatinate district is the fourth largest city in Bavaria. It has around 140,300 inhabitants, who are spread over the extensive urban area on both banks of the Danube. Regensburg is a bishopric and an important tourist center in Eastern Bavaria.
Regensburg for culture lovers and study travelers
Regensburg has more than 1,300 architectural monuments. On a tour through the city, the Regensburg dynasty towers, the old town hall and the “Stone Bridge” from the 12th century as well as the Herzogshof catch the eye.
The streets of the old town are characterized by historical buildings from many eras. Rich merchant families built opulent houses and villas here. In between there are churches, the bishop’s seat and the imposing St. Peter’s Cathedral, where the famous Regensburg cathedral sparrows regularly appear. Emmeram Castle, the headquarters of Thurn & Taxis, is located a little outside the city center.
Regensburg for nature lovers and active people
Regensburg is cozy and at the same time exciting, as more than 20 museums, exhibitions and memorials show. In the summer months, many interesting events take place in the beautiful parks, in the city center and along the Danube, attracting visitors from all over Germany.
Nature lovers can hike or cycle in the Regensburg avenue belt or the wooded and hilly surrounding area. A special view of Regensburg is offered during a boat trip on the Danube, which also takes you past the two islands of Obere and Untere Wörth in the city area.
A visit to nearby Potsdam should not be missing on a trip to Berlin. Hardly any other city can boast such a unique architectural ensemble as the Brandenburg capital. UNESCO honored this unique combination of castles and parks in the form that it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The focus of this ensemble is of course the Sanssouci Palace.
It started with old Fritz
Friedrich II laid the foundation stone for the magnificent gardens and the Sanssouci Palace in 1745 when he commissioned the construction of a small rococo summer palace. But it was not until the next century, in 1841, under Friedrich IV, a great-nephew of old Fritz, that the expansion into the palace and the gardens that can be admired today began. Friedrich Wilhelm IV had side wings built on the left and right of the original summer palace of his ancestor. The striking vineyard terraces, which nestle against the slope directly below the castle, were laid out in the time of Frederick II.
The architecture of Sanssouci
The original summer palace with a length of 91 m was built by the architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff based on the sketches of Friedrich II. The side wings that were added in the following century, each 31 m long, were again made by Ludwig Persius based on the king’s sketches.
The idea of a summer palace was also retained under Friedrich IV and so all rooms are on one level so that you can access the garden without having to climb stairs. The front as well as the garden are oriented to the south and have magnificent decorations, whereas the north side is kept rather simple.
The German Versailles
Under Friedrich IV, the original place of residence of the old Fritz, who once wanted to be buried on the top terrace, was expanded and rebuilt for representative purposes. Accordingly, the rooms of the palace show themselves in a splendid interior that reminds quite a few visitors of the Palace of Versailles of the French Sun King, Louis XIV. In addition to the castle, it is also the impressive gardens that fascinate every visitor and make you dream of times gone by.