The Passion Play is performed every 10 years in the city of Oberammergau, Germany. Nestled in a high Alpine valley in Bavaria, Oberammergau provides a breathtaking setting. The village has a long tradition of wood carving. The streets of central Oberammergau have impressive buildings as well as dozens of woodcarver shops with items such as toys and religious objects. According to the vow, all the actors, must be born in Oberammergau. Townspeople wrote score and designed and built the theatre. Long hair and beards are grown for years for the occasion. More than a thousand elaborate, colorful costumes add to the tradition-rich presentation.
The Play takes place in a covered auditorium with an open-air stage, built in 1930 to insure performance regardless of weather conditions. The open-air stage design creates a backdrop of green fields, mountains and blue skies. Now, more than 2,000 citizens make up the actors, singers, instrumentalists and stage technicians that bring the play to life in approximately six hours of playing time. The year 2020 marks the 42nd time the story will be presented in Oberammergau.
The play depicts the tragic and moving chronicle of Christ's final passion. Its history stems from 1632 when Oberammergau was gripped by a deadly plague which killed almost half of the town's population. In a final, desperate act of faith, the village elders pledged that if the village was spared, it would re-enact the passion of Christ every 10 years - for all eternity. Miraculously the village was spared and the villagers planned the very first Passion Play in 1632.
Tradition dictates that the play's cast of thousands is drawn from all walks of life from within the village. The coveted role of Christ could be the village postman, butcher or school teacher. The cast spend almost two years painstakingly rehearsing every detail of the story for a once only performance of a lifetime.
In the midst of the horror of the 30 years' war, the dreaded plague swept across Europe. High in the Bavarian Alps, the citizens of Oberammergau attempted to seal themselves off from the outside world. When a homesick young man sneaked into the village and brought the pestilence with him, 84 residents died within 3 weeks. In desperation, the town council made a solemn vow that if God would stop the plague, out of gratitude, they would present a play depicting the life and suffering of Christ for the duration of their existence. Miraculously, the plague took no more lives in the town. True to their word, the villagers performed their first play in 1634, and have continued to do so to this day. The play takes place out doors where the sky and mountains are the back drop. A wonderful spectacle of pageantry. World renown for the costumes and music presentation.
TRAVEL TO THE PASSION PLAY
Oberammergau is 50 miles South of Munich & 75 miles north of Innsbruck. Trains are available with a change of trains in Murnau. Any trips you book with us will include transportation and a guide.
The next Passion Play will take place in 2020 and the event is already attracting worshippers from around the globe. Demand is sure to be overwhelming and inevitably tickets will be in short supply. However, you can rely on us to obtain advance tickets.
We have specially reserved FIRST CLASS tickets for the 2020 Passion Play and obtained hotel accommodation in the beautiful surrounding area. Our unbeatable choice of tours is designed to reveal the very best of Europe's fine traditions in a range of balanced itineraries including a visit to Oberammergau and the Passion Play.
Luxury motorcoaches will transport you in safety and comfort and our experienced Tour Directors will enthrall you with their knowledge throughout the tour.
Choose from one of the exciting variety of itineraries. There will not be another chance like this until 2030 so don't delay and call us today to avoid disappointment 1-866-475-7023.
All performances sold out in 2000 & 2010. Sign up NOW for our waiting list to ensure you will not miss this amazing performance 1-800-942-3301.
THINGS TO SEE & DO WHILE IN OBERAMMERGAU
The town is very quaint, and the backdrop of the snow covered mountains makes it an amazing place for photos. The streets are lined with quaint shops offering cuckoo clocks, Christian carvings, mugs, stained glass, wool sweaters, wooden toys and other unique gifts. Many houses are decorated with wall paintings called Luftlmalerei.
Here are our suggestions for things to see and do while you are in the Oberammergau region.
Visit the Oberammergau Museum – great place to learn more about the history of the region. You can see various costumes on exhibit from the 19th and early 19th century. There are also rooms dedicated to wooden toys and games that were hand carved in the early 1900’s.
Walk Along Ettaler Street – Admire the hand painted murals on the homes. Admire images from Grimm’s Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretel…it’s like seeing a life sized comic book.
Visit Pilatushaus – Masterpiece of Franz Seraph Zwinck, the person who is said to have invented the fresco painting in the region. The house is named for the Lüftlmalerei over the front door of Jesus being sentenced by Pontius Pilate. His images are painted in illusion technique which make them look 3 dimensional. The interior of the home has a beautiful exhibition of reverse glass paintings upstairs. In the lower level of the home you can usually see local artists working on creations from wood carvers to painters and potters. There is a gift shop where you can purchase local artist works as well as a lovely garden.
Visit Linderhof Castle - Of all the three castles, King Ludwig II had built, Linderhof is the only one which was finished and perhaps resembles his visions of “Bavarian Versailles” and Wagner’s operas most. This was the castle in which he spent the most time in. Learn about the legacy of the king from an expert guide and enjoy free time to explore the castle and its surrounding park at leisure. This castle is just a 15 minute drive from the village of Oberammergau.
Visit Oberammergau Church – another great example of the local wood work. The carvings often look like marble and stone vs. wood.
Visit Laber – take the cable car up for great views and walk down if you enjoy hiking. Great view down to Oberammergau and the surrounding mountains. There is a café at the top of the mountain (cash only).
Popular day trips from Munich include the Romantic Road, Rothenburg, Herburg, Salzburg, Oktoberfest, Neuschwanstein & Linderhof Castles.