Altoetting – a holy place in Bavaria since milleniums

and location of the "Black Virgin"-Shrine

Munich airportshuttle - a service from Mietwagen Lohfink - Office 0049-8134-558720 Mobilphone 0049-172-9607143 Fax 0049-8134-558722

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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 at Starnberg.

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 in 2006.

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 does.


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: info@altoetting-touristinfo.de


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“ mails :-).

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.

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