"Lüftlmalerei" is a handicraft method of wall-painting for decorating the baroque facades in Italy and Southern Germany. This method started to become popular in the 18th century in the foothill region of the Alps, where wealthy traders, peasants and craftsmen displayed their wealth by painting their house facades.
One of the most famous decorated houses is Pilatushaus (on Verlegergasse); painted in 1784 by Franz Zwink. It illustrates Christ's condemnation by Pilate. A short walk around the town (which isn't big enough for a long walk...) will take you past of lots more painted houses, usually with religious or folk-themed images.
In the summer of 2000, Oberammergau staged its famous Passion Play, which is performed only 1 year out of 10. Surely the world's longest-running show, it began in 1634 when the town's citizens took a vow to give dramatic thanks after they were spared from the devastating plague of 1633.
The town is packed to the gills all summer for this major event. Attracting pilgrims (and tourists) from around the world, the Passion Play depicts the "suffering, death, and rebirth of Jesus Christ." In many ways, it's an authentic recreation of a medieval morality play. Though the theater and production methods are contemporary, the spirit of the play is highly traditional. The whole production is community-based. Locals do all the acting--the competition for the roles of Jesus and Mary can be fierce. Performances last all day, with a break for lunch. Viewing the production can alternate between tedious and highly dramatic--but in most cases, it's fascinating. Where else would you get to witness such a pocket of medievalism in the modern world?
The Passion Play stage won't be empty and un-used until 2010 though. There is opera! After the great success of the opera performances in the Passion Play theater in 2002 and 2003 this musical experience will be continued in 2004. In addition to Giuseppe Verdi´s Nabucco there will also be "Aida" on the schedule.
"Aida": July 9th and 10th and on September 3rd and 4th 2004 and
"Nabucco": August 6th and 7th 2004.
You can book opera tickets online here:
After having lunch in town we continued walking around admiring the beautiful painted buildings when we happened upon the Church of Saints Peter and Paul. It is one of the main churches in Oberammergau and from the outside was very plain looking but inside was just a gem.
The church was built between 1736 and 1749. It was designed by Joseph Schmuzer, an architect and a stucco artist. Inside are beautiful frescoes and sculpture work created by other artists.
Outside of the church was a cemetery with some rather elaborate grave markers – crosses, statues, etc.
Make sure to stop in for a visit when you're in Oberammergau.
Pilatus Haus is the most beautiful house of Oberammergau. Its name comes from the wonderful fresco on the facade made in 1784. It shows Jusus in front of Pontius Pilate with nice architectures. On the East facade you can see a nice fresco showing the resurrection.
Luftlmalerei is avery diffused style of wall painting in Baviera. It was born in the XVII century as derivation of the Italian style "trompe oil". A famous exponent of Luftlmalerei was Franz Seraph Zwinck (1748-1792) who live in Oberammergau.
Less then an hour after leaving Munich (driving our rental) we arrived in Oberammergau. Originally world famous for being the village of woodcarvers it later became known for hosting the Passion Play. The play is about the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ that is performed every ten years (next in 2010).
Many of the buildings in the town had paintings or woodcarvings on them. We stopped for lunch (soup and German hot dogs) at an outdoor café.
Since it was early in the season and not a play year, the town was very empty. Still it was nice to walk around the town and see all the interesting buildings. We bought a few small wood carvings and some glass Christmas ornaments before leaving.
Some people have complained that Oberammergau was/is too touristy. I didn't find that at all. In fact I found it charming. Maybe because it was off season..? Still I'd make a stop here if you're traveling between Munich and the castles.
Altstadt ( old town ) Oberammergau boasts many beautiful Bavarian chalet style buildings like those shown in these photos. Throughout the 18th. and 19th. centuries it was a common practice throughout much of Bavaria, Tirol, and sud-Tirol, to incorporate relief sculptures, frescoes, portraits, and intricate designs, directly into the exterior walls of buildings. The frescoes were painted immediately after the walls were stuccoed, allowing the paint and stucco to dry at the same time. The art indicated the status, trade, or profession of the building's owners. The practice of painting these frescoes began in about 1730, and is still done to a limited extent nowadays.
Many of the frescoes are scenes from the locally staged and world famous Passion of Christ play. Photo #1 shows the front of a popular hotel / restaurant. The central frescoe depicts the crucifiction of Christ. The entire hotel which was built about 300 years ago, is beautifully decorated. The hotel and restaurant are top quality and a good value. If you want to book a room for the 2010 passion play, now ( 2007 ) would not be any too soon.
The building in Photo #2 houses a handicraft shop, a woodcarver's shop, and living quarters for the workers and their families. Did I mention that the citizens of this fantastic little city are wonderfully old fashioned ?
Photo #3 shows another perfectly maintained building with a fascinating upper balcony. All of altstadt Oberammergau combines to form one great work of art. Take the time to savor this great city, and don't be in a hurry.
Visiting the museum you will see 350 years of local art in one building. Some of the pieces leave you breathless and you cannot believe the fine detail that went into the pieces. Obviously done with great love and care. Do not miss the crib collection which is absolutely outstanding.
You will see signs for Spaghetti Eis and that is spaghetti ice cream. Sounds horrible, doesn't it? Well, give it a try. We finally couldn't resist and were so glad we tried it. The only thing spaghetti about it is the looks. They put very tasty vanilla ice cream through a spaghetti machine so it looks exactly like a bowl of spaghetti. That is topped with a delicious strawberry sauce that is red so looks like spaghetti sauce. I don't know if it is served all year or only in strawberry season when we were there, but it is a major taste treat and a super idea if your feet are weary from walking all over town and you want a bit of a rest.
You will see signs all over town so pick the place with the best view and settle in for a taste treat and some relaxation.
It is close to Oberammergau and has 50 practicing monks here. It was founded in 1330, but did not hits its fame until 1709 when it became a Knight Academy. The complex burned in 1744, and was then rebuilt in Baroque style
Oberammergau is probably best known for the Passion play which happens every 10 year and we were lucky to go there in the year when they performed it for the 100th time. It dates back to 1633 when the villagers made a solumn pledge.
The Passion stage is one of the largest open air stages in the world. The original text of the play stems from more than one source and has been altered several times in the course of its 350 year history. The staging of the play has changed very little since the 1920's. The impressive massive scenes call for up to 800 actors on stage at the same time.
Only citizens of Oberammergau is allowed to partake as actors.
This church dates back to the 18th century and was designed by Joseph Schmuzer. The foundations were laid on the 21st May 1737 and all went well with the building until 1741 when the locals refused to work without pay.
"Lueftlmalerei" is a handicraft method of wall-painting originally applied for decorating the baroque facades in Italy and Southern Germany.
It was only in the 18th century that this method began to become popular in the foothill region of the Alps, where wealthy traders, peasants and craftsmen displayed their wealth by means of opulently painted facades.
The subjects of the paintings are mostly of a religious character, particularly involving figures of saints as well as manifold scenes all around the Passion Play theme in Oberammergau.
The painting technique is the so-called fresco technique, i.e. the water colours of a mineral basis are applied to wet freshly laid plaster. As the colours dry, they become a fixed layer of colour, insoluble to water. The necessity to work quickly in the fresh air (Luft), led to the belief that the term "Lueftlmalerei" is somehow connected to this particular method of painting. More convincing, however, is the story going back to Franz Seraph Zwinck (1748-1792), probably the most well-known craftsman of his guild. The story goes that he lived in a house called "Zum Lueftl" in Oberammergau (such house names can still be found there rather often) and because of his profession, was called "the Lueftlmaler" (the "Lueftl" painter). The name of the whole guild most probably developed from this name during the 19th century.
The said Franz Seraph Zwinck decorated a great many beautiful facades in Oberammergau and its area. The most prominent of them would be the "Forsthaus", the "Mussldomahaus" and, last but not least, the "Pilatushaus" with its ornate architectural fantasies.
Alpine Pool Wellenberg is where to go... its stunning location plus there are three open air and three indoor pools, two water slides, an adventure pool, a large sun-bathing area, saunas, a solarium, a restaurant and a bar.
Summer season opening times: May to September 9.30am - 9pm
Winter season opening times: October to April 10am - 9pm
Check out www.oberammergau.de and click on wellenberg for details of pricing, bit too much info to include here.