Tag Archives: woodcarving

Enamored with Oberammergau

Must … write … last … vacation … post.
Geez, I’ve been lazy since returning to India. We have one room with a working heater, so we lounge on the bed with our iPads for hours on end. With only ONE last story to write about our wonderful trip to Bavaria, I have rolled off the bed and moved to the computer.

We visited Oberammergau twice, but dreary weather kept the camera in my coat pocket the first time. We escaped the sleet for a lovely lunch in a toasty guesthouse, and then drove back to Garmisch. On our last full day in Germany, we strolled through the town again, this time with blue skies and sunshine. Oberammergau boasts three attractions that draw thousands of tourists to this small town: a long history of woodcarving, traditional painting on building exteriors, and the once-a-decade Passion Play.

Oberammergau’s woodcarving tradition dates to the Middle Ages, and the streets are lined with shops selling work by about 120 local carvers. Store windows feature creations such as this one in addition to more whimsical pieces.

The Oberammergau Museum, housed in a former church, took us on a walk through the town’s woodcarving history – from the days of nomadic peddlers to present-day international marketing and contemporary sculpture, including a computer database of 1,400 Oberammergau artists. The exhibits reflected social history in Bavaria with displays of household items, furniture, figurines, toys and dolls, …

crucifixes, and

scenes from actual battles.

Click on this link for an interesting little article about woodcarving in Oberammergau.

The captivating “Lüftlmalerei,” or frescoes, painted on nearly every building in town depict religious stories, fairytales, traditional Bavarian scenes or architectural trompe-l’oeil (which I just learned means an artform that creates a 3-D illusion).

Here’s a bit more information about the Lüftlmalerei.

Oberammergau’s Passion Play originated in a prayer as the Black Plaque swept across Europe. Villagers swore an oath to perform the play every 10 years if God would spare their town. They kept their promise, and the play was first staged in 1634. This website, from the 2010 Passion Play, has lots of interesting information. If you want to see the play, start making plans for 2020! Here’s the entrance to the theater:

My mother reluctantly watched much of the 1984 performance (an extra staging of the show to celebrate the 350th anniversary), when my father ditched her in Oberammergau with my car-sick baby sister. He thought he could take my grandparents to see Neuschwanstein Castle and then zip back to pick up Mom and Megan, which he did … six hours later. (Mom, feel free to add details/make corrections.)