Rottenbuch Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by Trekki
  • Things to Do
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  • Can you smell the fresh cut grass?
    Can you smell the fresh cut grass?
    by Trekki

Best Rated Things to Do in Rottenbuch

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    Other churches in easy reach from Rottenbuch

    by Trekki Updated Aug 4, 2013

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    Hohenfurch, church Maria Himmelfahrt
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    Pfaffenwinkel region of Bavaria is rather compact. It forms almost a square with a diameter of approx. 40 km. Thus, many of these gem churches of the region are in easy reach, less than one hour drive from Rottenbuch. I have visited many churches during my short stay in the region and will write separately about most of them.
    The ones in easy reach of Rottenbuch are:
    Steingaden with Wies Church and the marvellous former monastery church in the town of Steingaden (12 km to the west),
    Schongau town and church Maria Himmelfahrt (17 km to the northwest),
    Hohenpeißenberg with a marvellous view and church Maria Himmelfahrt (15 km to the north),
    Hohenfurch with church Maria Himmelfahrt (20 km to the northwest),
    Altenstadt with the Romanesque Basilica St. Michael (17 km to the northwest),
    Sachsenried with the beautiful church St. Martin (25 km to the northwest),
    Wessobrunn with a former monastery (30 km to the northeast).

    © Ingrid D., November 2011 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Old monastery manor at the entrance of town

    by Trekki Updated Mar 15, 2012

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    The old monastery farmhouse
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    Just across the street of the parking place, on the way to the monastery ground is this huge building which was once the monastery’s farm or agricultural building. It was built in 15th century and expanded later. During the peak times the monastery owned 182 cattle, 169 calves, 120 sheep and 75 horses and cultivated 450 ha of fields. After secularisation the building was sold to a family which used it as horse breeding stables, for military purposes. In 1965, after a great part of the building collapsed because of neglect, the Salesian Sisters bought it (together with the former brewery building behind the gatehouse) and part of it is now being used as festive hall and gym.
    I liked the massive wooden ceiling and the beautiful old balcony or maybe the wall of an extension in the upper floor. This must be from the days when the major part of the building was being built.

    Location of the old farm manor on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., November 2011.

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    Gatehouse to the main monastery ground

    by Trekki Updated Mar 15, 2012

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    Gatehouse of Rottenbuch Monastery
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    When standing in front of the gatehouse, the original concept of this complex can still be seen. It has two side buildings; the left one was inhabited by the traders and is still being used as such: the Klosterkrämerei (monastery general store) is located here. It is a small shop and was closed when I was in Rottenbuch (but logical, since it was a holiday).
    Much more interesting is what the first floor of the gatehouse was used for. It was the school since already before 1560, for all the kids in the monastery estate land. Until secularisation (1803) up to 220 kids went to school here, the monastery paid for everything, books, writing utensils, teachers and lunch. On the explanatory board it is said that the costs per kid and day were equal to a third of the wage of day labourers these days. The text also mentions that during these days the kids who were educated here had a higher education level than kids of other towns where no monasteries did exist.

    Location of the gatehouse on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., November 2011.

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    Centre of the former monastery: food for thought

    by Trekki Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    Rottenbuch
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    The former monastery centre courtyard, if it could be called that way, is still there and the leaflet about Rottenbucher Klosterrundweg (Rottenbuch Monastery Round Tour), Rottenbuch’s tourist board has available on their website, is an excellent source to imagine how well organised and how functional the monastery was over the years and centuries. What I read also changed my perception of the role of the church and monasteries I had over the years and which I sadly never questioned (so much for thought-patterns acquired through education....).

    Like already mentioned before: the kids belonging to the monastery’s zone of influence were educated for free and also fed during school hours. The pharmacy provided medical cure and care, but in three different price regions, depending on the patient’s wealth: poorer people had less to pay than wealthy ones. With an incredible amount of manuscripts and books the level of scientific knowledge was enormous and this was also taught to the kids. It is said that the kids of these days had a higher education level than many kids in wealthy towns, even than in Munich. And then came secularisation, a result of Napoleon’s war against the church, or “modern” investiture debate. In 1801, with the Concordate, church went into civil status and lost not only its power but also the benefits they had on the people. I don’t want to glorify everything the powers of the church did in the past or today, but this all made me think if this secularisation was really a benefit for the people and their “taxes”. Before, people had to pay their contribution to the church but they got a lot for it, like being fed, taken care of, were educated, had homes. Today, we still pay this contribution as taxes but to the ones who say they represent us in the governments, but what is being done with our taxes today is ... less obvious. Of course the living standards have changed, but feeding and educating the less wealthy people is mostly gone the drain. And instead our politicians, who pocket the taxes, are often more than corrupt and have their own agendas for the money. The “doing good” aspect is gone. It changed to elitist thinking, to power of money, to corruption, to disrespect of human dignity. This all, what I learned in the sweet age of 52 years, instead of in school or through education, made me aware of why I always fought against the blind ones who knowingly with hidden agendas or unknowingly aim to destroy trusted methods and traditions just to achieve more power and money.

    One other most horrible result of this secularisation was the destruction of churches, monasteries and the art and books they had. Just imagine, the effect on Rottenbuch monastery was the loss of 285 manuscripts, 8961 books, 1582 incunables, 9213 engravings, which are all now in Munich in several museums though (and not lost forever). But approximately 500 kg of other books and manuscripts were being sold as paper, just as paper to be reused!!! That breaks my heart and surely also the heart of any book lover. Another result of secularisation in Germany, albeit said to be “positive”, is that the state pays money to the churches, as a kind of contribution for their loss of taxes. I should mention that Bavarian churches and monasteries were lucky though: 1817, after the Napoleonic area was over, King Ludwig I of Bavaria (grandfather of famous King Ludwig II) had discussions with the church and through a Bavarian Concordate the former monasteries which haven’t been destroyed to rubble were revitalised and new ones were founded. As a result, the density of functioning monasteries in Bavaria is the highest within Germany, and.. if this is a result or not, Bavarians are a very much homogeneous folk and among the other Germans, have the highest standards in terms of education, economy and traditions. (Even Wikipedia says that “Bavaria ... one of the largest economies in Europe and only 17 countries in the world have a higher GDP”). Some governments can learn from that! Mine (state of Hesse) included. It also makes me understand now why Bavaria often wants to separate from the rest of Germany.

    This all were my thoughts when I stood at the courtyard of the former monastery, here in its centre. It definitely changed a lot of my former ignorant and “uneducated” perceptions! Take a moment when you are there and try to imagine what the buildings you see once hosted and served as. What church did in the past other than preaching. And that we shouldn't try to distroy, abadon or hate things or mechanisms we don't know or understand in the beginning.

    In the middle of the courtyard is a beautiful statue of Maria Immaculata, of 1873. It is now the centre of the courtyard and also a monument to the ones who lost their lives in the wars.

    Location of Rottenbuch’s monastery courtyard on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., November 2011 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Old pestilence cemetery outside of town

    by Trekki Updated Aug 4, 2013

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    Rottenbuch, little pestilence cemetery
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    On the quite detailed map of Rottenbuch and surroundings inside of town I discovered a sign “Pestfriedhof” (pestilence cemetery) and wanted to visit it since these kinds of cemeteries have a certain historical relevance. In this specific case finding the cemetery was also very much “the path is the goal” because the farmers were cutting the grass and this was not only very much aromatic but also let me have some great photo opportunities. The view from here is also magnificent! Nothing spectacular, well, yes, spectacular: peaceful farmland with this thick fruity green colour of grass, the little wooden storage huts dotted in the fields, the chatting birds, warm sunshine on my face. In the distance I could even see Hohenpeißenberg with the weather station and the church, one of my next destinations. After a short walk through this very idyllic spot I reached the cemetery, surrounded by a little wall. The gate was closed and I think it is open only when the locals have specific celebrations up here.
    These kinds of cemeteries were very popular during the times when pestilence was ravaging. They were meant to keep the dead bodies, victims of the plague, far off the settlements. Bavaria had its fair of victims share during this deadly epidemic.

    How to get there is easy when you have a car, but I doubt that there is public transport available. Take the road from Rottenbuch to Ilgen (to the west, labelled as St.2058), pass the tiny hamlet of Ölberg, pass the little lake Ölberger Weiher (to your left) and when the road reaches a peak with a quarry to the left, park there. It is not an official parking but a car was already standing there so I parked. Cross the street, walk downhill for a few minutes and then it is there, directly at the little road.
    [See photo 3 for the map and the location.]

    Location of the pestilence cemetery on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., November 2011 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Former monastery brewery

    by Trekki Updated Mar 15, 2012

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    Monastery brewery, once
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    Of course the monastery also had an own brewery. Beer was important these days, it was more or less the only “drink” that was safe. The monastery had the exclusive right to produce it throughout its vast estate. On the sign at the wall is mentioned that the brewery produced approx. 220.00 litres per year in 18th century, 260 litres per person. They also owned vineyards in northern Italy and produced approx. 30.000 litres wine per year. After secularisation the building was still in use as brewery but closed in 1928. In 1960 the Salesian Sisters bought the house (together with the former farmhouse manor) and today it houses a school for kindergarden teachers, child care and an academy for pedagogy.
    But no beer anymore, sorry Richie :-)

    Location of former monastery brewery on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., November 2011.

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    Splendid former monastery church in Rottenbuch

    by Trekki Updated Aug 4, 2013

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    Spiritual centre of the former monastery ground is the collegiate church of Maria Geburt (birth of Mary), a masterpiece of Rococo. The first church was built on this ground end of 11th century, Romanesque. In 14th century vast fires destroyed it so it was rebuilt in Gothic. During Thirty Years War and War of Spanish Succession church and monastery were destroyed again and again rebuilt in 18th century, in the style we see it today. Luckily the church was declared parish church after secularisation in 1803; otherwise this marvellous artwork would also be gone. Almost every “movable” artwork was stolen, destroyed or taken during the secularisation though, but the late Gothic Madonna statue is still there, at the side altar dedicated to Augustine of Hippo.

    The interior of Rottenbuch’s church is amazing! The white, gold and a little bit of pastel pink stucco work was made by Wessobrunn artist Joseph Schmuzer, son of Johann who has decorated many other churches such as the one in Ilgen and the church Maria Aich in Peißenberg. This stucco work leaves an impression of grandeur, awe, and yes, it definitely left the impression on me the artists did intent: to visualise a piece of heaven on earth. The many frescoes all over the ceiling and walls show scenes of the life of St. Augustine of Hippo, because the Canons Regular lived and worked in the monastery. Matthäus Günther painted these, a very active fresco painter of his days. When I was in Rottenbuch early October 2011 it was a sunny day but inside of the church it wasn’s that much of light as I saw in other churches. Maybe this was because this church is the only one with side naves I visited? This doesn’t leave many possibilities for windows and the ones in Rottenbuch are high up above the side naves and in the outer walls of the side naves.

    I have read that guided night tours are being offered in this church. But my schedule didn’t allow this. However, there is always a next time.

    Opening hours:
    Summer time: 8:00 – 19:00 and winter time: 8:00 – 18:00.

    Location of Rottenbuch’s parish church Maria Geburt on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., November 2011 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)

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    Cemetery with beautiful iron crosses

    by Trekki Updated Mar 15, 2012

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    Cross on Rottenbuch cemetery
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    The cemetery in front of the church’s entrance is of newer date, but it is very much worth to visit, especially because of the beautiful artwork of the crosses. I haven’t seen so many of these rural artisan work on the other cemeteries I saw (Steingaden, Hohenfurch, Altenstadt), except the one in Sachsenried. The little door was open and I assume that it will be open all day.

    Location of Rottenbuch’s cemetery on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., November 2011.

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