Schongau Things to Do

  • Steingaden's parish church
    Steingaden's parish church
    by Trekki
  • Rottenbuch
    Rottenbuch
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  • Church courtyard: here is the wall entrance
    Church courtyard: here is the wall...
    by Trekki

Most Recent Things to Do in Schongau

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    Western entrance gate and water tower

    by Trekki Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    In my humble opinion the most charming town gate of Schongau is Frauentor (women’s gate) in the east. The reason why I liked it so much was because I walked through it, coming from the car park, and this walk uphill gave me a good impression of how high the old town is located. And I also could imagine myself being centuries back when the majority of folk did the same when they came to town: walking, slowly, uphill. I haven’t found out why the gate name has reference to women but the hill outside of the wall is still being called Frauenberg (women’s hill) today. The gate seems to be devoted to Virgin Mary. On its outer part a statue of Virgin Mary greets the arriving visitors. And inside is a nice painting or fresco of Virgin of Mercy, together with the town’s coat of arms, the eagle with almost a Bavarian flag inside: checkered white-blue.
    On the way uphill is a quite prominent little tower. The inscription said that it was once the water tower for the town. Water was brought here from a nearby hill and then pumped uphill. Makes for a nice photo, especially in late afternoon.

    Location of Frauentor on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., December 2011.

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    Former mint and gate in the north

    by Trekki Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    Only three of Schongau’s former town gates are still in place. One of them is the so-called Münztor (mint gate), from where the main street Münzstraße leads directly to the main square Marienplatz. Mint, because Schongau received the town rights early and this usually involved the right to mint coins. The beautiful yellow building next to it was Schongau’s former mint and used as such until 16th century. Then it was used as prison, torture “chamber” and justice house. Law and order still lives here today... it is Schongau’s police station. And surely one of the most charming police stations I remember to have seen. The gate however was modified to make sure that higher vans can pass through today.
    Taking photos here should be done in late afternoon when the light settings let the yellow building shine and glow.

    Location of Münzhaus on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., December 2011.

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    Walking on the town wall :)

    by Trekki Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    The travel books say that Schongau's town wall is the only completely preserved circular town wall ... south of Danube River. [Well, famous Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber is north of Danube River.] The oldest parts of the wall are from 13th century. I liked it a lot although it is not completely walkable. But it is somehow the perfect oval shaped surrounding of the old town which sits on the hill in its oval shape. Only five of the once fifteen towers are still there. Only parts of the 1623 metres are accessible today but that is because the other parts are integrated into houses and premises and the inhabitants might not like every visitor peeking into their privacy. But during a guided tour it can be walked completely, as far as I have heard.

    The part which is accessible for the public is in the east of town: from the courtyard of Heiliggeist church northward. When I was up there on a quiet afternoon in October I loved how the light was shining through the thick vine leaves and how colourful and photogenic these were especially in the afternoon. The walk as such is not long; I think it is only 200 metres. But I loved it and highly recommend doing it. After getting off the wall in the north walk further up north to the church of St. Sebastian. From the church’s cemetery one can take more photos of the vines and also the Leonardi-Ritt fountain is nearby. Only a couple of metres to the west is Münzhaus and Münztor (mint house and mint gate).

    Location of town wall entry 1 (near church) on Google Maps,
    Location of town wall entry 2 (in the north) on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., December 2011.

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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Schongau's parish church Maria Himmelfahrt :)

    by Trekki Updated Sep 21, 2013

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    To be honest I don’t know what I have expected before visiting Schongau’s parish church Maria Himmelfahrt. The days before and this day I had seen already many marvellous gems of churches such as Steingaden’s Welfenmünster, UNESCO listed Wies Church, Rottenbuch’s splendid former monastery church and the charming small churches of Sachsenried and Hohenfurch. So I entered with a “I have to tick this off my list, now that I am here in Schongau” feeling. But what waited for me was yet another splendid church. Not comparable to the others, but that said none was comparable to any other church I saw. Each had this extra special “something” I liked. Here in church Maria Himmelfahrt it was the ceilings and the delicate sparse Rococo stucco work on the ceiling. The frescoes on the white or pastel yellow background surrounded by light floral stucco, are mostly painted on gold and pastel pink. Yes, it reminded me a bit of the interior of Hohenfurch’s church, albeit here on a bigger scale. I also liked the golden medallion like decoration left and right of the main frescoes. The frescoes have Virgin Mary as theme, which is not surprising because the church is consecrated to her. Without the little booklet I bought at the entrance I would not have found a speciality in the main fresco above the altar: the Holy Spirit, usually depicted as dove, is a Baroque squire here (see main photo: on the right hand side, the one with the corona around the head). To paint the Holy Spirit as a human figure usually was forbidden because no one should believe that he also turned into a human. In the apse I also saw the clock again: reminder of our time on eearth being limited.
    Another nice feature inside the church is the little nativity in the little side chapel on the right hand side. It is old, some of the figures date back to mid 17th century. The distinctive feature is that it is there all year round and the scenes are being changed every 3-6 weeks. Each scene relates to the Good News and is explained on a little leaflet. When I was there is was the scene of Christ preaching in the temple.

    But my most favourite inside the church were the guild poles, ten in total. But since they were so special and since this is also a very much local custom to Bavaria, I’ll describe these separately in the local custom section.

    Location of church Maria Himmelfahrt on Google Maps.

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

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  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Maria Himmelfahrt Church

    by BruceDunning Written Jul 10, 2012
    View of altar alcove and tower
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    Maria Himmelfahrt Church is in the middle of Schongau old town. It is the linch pin to attract people to the town. It was closed during our time in the old town, but the frescoes are said to be a real site.

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    View the Altenstadt St. Michael's Church

    by BruceDunning Updated Jul 10, 2012
    View of St Michaels church towers
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    Church St. Michaels and Abbey in the middle of the village is a stand out. It was closed and under renovation while we were there, though. Too bad. Built between 1180-1220, it is large and an icon in the town.

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    Schongau: ideal base for Pfaffenwinkel's churches

    by Trekki Updated Dec 25, 2011

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    Wies Church near Steingaden
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    Schongau is an ideal base to explore the many Rococo and Baroque churches in this Bavarian region of Pfaffenwinkel. And there is one Romanesque church very close by. The ones in easy reach of Schongau are:
    Steingaden with famous Wies Church nearby and a marvellous old monastery church (18 km to the south),
    Rottenbuch, with former monastery (16 km to the southeast),
    Hohenpeißenberg with a marvellous view and church Maria Himmelfahrt (17 km to the east),
    Hohenfurch with church Maria Himmelfahrt (6 km to the north),
    Altenstadt with the Romanesque Basilica St. Michael (3 km to the west),
    Sachsenried with the beautiful church St. Martin (10 km to the west).
    In fact I visited the churches of Sachsenried, Altenstadt and Hohenfurch on the same day I visited Schongau.

    © Ingrid D., December 2011.

    This is the end of my description of Schongau and surroundings. Thanks for having followed my tour. If you wish, please return to my Intro page

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    On the way to the town wall walk: house and church

    by Trekki Updated Dec 25, 2011

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    Schongau
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    On my way from the main square to the entrance oft the town wall walk I passed the so-called Steingadener Richterhaus of 1493 (something like Steingaden justice house). This once belonged to Steingaden’s monastery. It was home to the town chronicler in early 19th century. But I didn’t find any explanation as of why just this house belonged to the Steingaden funds nor when the beautiful fresco on the wall was painted. However, given the inscriptions on the fresco (reference to the families who lived here after secularisation) it cannot be old. But Lady Justice as part of the sundial shows the reference to the house once having been a court.

    Opposite of this house is the complex of former Carmelite monastery St. Anna, now mostly nursing home. But the church is now a regular parish church, called Heiliggeist Spitalkirche (something like hospital church of the Holy Spirit). When I was in Schongau I was very much looking forward to see it from the inside but it was closed, “for repair”, as the sign said. At home I have read that it is closed already since August 2010, when a piece of wooden panel fell down; a result of hungry woodworms. To repair the church and remove the worms the town officials are in a dilemma: they can’t use traditional methods because this would mean to evacuate the residents of the nursing home for a while. But less poisonous nitrogen gas costs five times as much. I really hope that they find a solution because the interior looks very appealing on the website.

    Look for the door with a little sign “Aufgang zur Ringmauer” (entry to the town wall) at the door next to the church. It leads to a charming courtyard where on its end stairs lead up to the town wall.

    Location of town wall entry 1 (near church) on Google Maps.

    © Ingrid D., December 2011.

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    Altenstadt: Michaelskirche

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Feb 27, 2008

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    Michaelskirche
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    The interior of the basilica has got three naves and interesting Gothic frescos showing Jesus and saints. To the center of the church there is a great crucifix three meters tall called Gran Jesus of Altenstadt

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    Altenstadt: Michaelskirche

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Feb 27, 2008

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    Michaelskirche
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    In the small village of Altenstadt, 3 km north of Schongau you can see Michaelskirche: the most beautiful Romanesque basilica in Bavaria. It was built in 1200 and it is surrounding by boundaries.

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  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    GAtes of the Town

    by BruceDunning Written Jul 10, 2012
    Main gate Kastelturm
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    Marianplatz is the main street that runs through the center. It is one way into and one way out of town for some streets. The range of the platz is from town wall to town wall.

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    Schongauer Rathaus

    by BruceDunning Written Jul 10, 2012
    View of the Rathaus from Munzstrasse
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    In the old times this was the "meeting" place for the peasants and gentry to heir out the issues. Today, it has retail shops and eateries. Still, it is a nice monument to the reality of old times.

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    Marienplatz

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Feb 27, 2008

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    Marienplatz
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    Marienplatz is the main square of the old town. Along its sides you can see fantastic examples of half-timbered houses and palaces.

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    Marie Himmelfahrt

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Feb 27, 2008

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    Marie Himmelfahrt

    This church is one of the most beautiful monuments of the town. It was built by dominikus Zimmermann among 1751 and 1753 on the ruins of an ancient Gothic one.

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    City walls

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Feb 27, 2008

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    City walls
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    The town of Schongau is entirely surrounding by preserved walls with watching towers. The boundaries were built in the fourteenth century and strengthen in the 17th century.

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