The baroque pilgrimage church in Birnau is a great base for a day trip or a round trip of Lake Constance. Above all it is a tranquil meeting place for Christians from all around the world. The baroque giant lies less than one hour away from Lindau on Lake Constance by car.
The Architecture of the Birnau Pilgrimage Church
Even if you have never heard of Birnau, you might recognise the well-known building from photos: The charismatic church tower with its view over Lake Constance is one of the formative pieces of architecture in the region around Uhldingen-Mühlhofen in Baden-Wüttemburg. Although first built in the middle of the 18th century, the pilgrimage church appears brand new thanks to careful and loving restorations.
Only when you enter the church and marvel at its lavish splendour and the numerous frescos and plaster figures can you recognise its baroque-age origins. The plasterer and sculptor Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer who, among other things, contributed the Honigschlecker cherub figure, added to this overall effect: A boy who cautiously snacks on honey from a honeypot as a symbol of temptation.
Of all the countless details in the architecture and the interior, the seven altars are by far the most important: Next to the high altar you find two altars each to the left and the right – some with pictures which come from the town of Altbirnau. In the middle of the 18th century, the then abbot of the Reichenau monastery, Stephan II. Enroth, had the old church torn down and as a replacement for it he commissioned the new Birnau pilgrimage church.
A Visit to the Birnau Pilgrimage Church
For those who wand to learn more about the architecture and meaning of the pilgrimage church, a free guided tour takes place every Thursday from the middle of May through to the middle of September (excluding public holidays). Individual tours for groups are available for from €3.00 per person – these must be booked in advance by telephone.
In the area you can not only view the church and visit the fair, but you can also take part in the Fatima Pilgrimage every 13th of the month from November to April. And before you go home, you absolutely must take a look at the abbey shop of the Cistercian Order: Along with cribs, candles and rosaries, they also sell tasty treats such as fruit brandy, honey and apple juice.