Knowing the days here in Germany will be getting colder and shorter much too soon for our liking, yesterday, we took advantage of the beautiful weather to explore the nearby area. We stumbled upon an old abandoned Catholic church called Barbaraberg. It has a pilgrimage route known as Way of the Cross, which is a devotional exercise in the Catholic faith where you pray while walking a path that has statues depicting Jesus’ path to Calvary.
In pre-historic times, it was an old Slavic place of worship known as Mirga and was the residence of the Narisk prince. Mirga was said to have been destroyed during an eruption of the nearby Rauhen Kulm volcano (which is no longer a volcano but now a basalt mountain.) Another theory is that migrating hordes of the Huns destroyed the area in the 4th century and that the Swedes finally razed a castle to the ground in the Thirty Years War.
Around the year 1000, a hall church was built there. In 1557, during the Protestant Reformation, the monastery was secularized and the pilgrimages were stopped. The church fell into disrepair until it was restored in 1661.
In 1756, a Rococo-style church was built on the land. Again in 1803, the church was secularized and was converted into a barn. The entire central area of the church was damaged and was demolished in 1888 and what remained of the buildings was used for agricultural purposes.
In 1914, lighting struck the area and damaged what was left of the church buildings- the statue of Saint Barbara is headless due to the lightning.
In 1919, a small chapel was built which still stands today. It was donated to the Speinshart Monastery, which is about 2 km southwest.
We walked the church ruins, enjoying the view of the Bavarian countryside. I especially loved the rows of chestnut trees that line the Way of the Cross statues. I took some impromptu fall photos of Drew.
It’s crazy to think this beautiful place is just 15km from our new home in Grafenwöhr. Equally crazy is the realization that we live in Germany!!!