Eight questions for...

Georg Kirchmeir, priest of the Pilgrimage Church of Wies

When I visit the World Heritage Site of the Pilgrimage Church of Wies, what should I definitely not miss?

What the two architects Johann Baptist and Dominikus Zimmermann gave us is one of the finest Rococo icons in the world. Whoever visits the Pilgrimage Church of Wies should definitely take the time to see these artworks. The focal point of the Pilgrimage Church of Wies is a figurine in the center of the high alter, we call it the Scourged Savior. This figurine was the reason why the church was built, back in the 18th century.

What do you particularly like here?

I myself am first and foremost a minister and priest. From that perspective, I see the Pilgrimage Church of Wies as a house of God and a pilgrimage destination. A close second to that is my gratitude for being able to work in a church which is also a consummate artwork.

Do you have an insider tip?

You should come to the Pilgrimage Church of Wies on foot, or you should at least walk the last few meters. Only then can you see how well situated this church is on the meadow and in the surrounding landscape of forests and mountains.

What impressed you most during your first visit here?

I was a young theology student when I first came to the Pilgrimage Church of Wies. I can still remember how beautiful I found the church with its splendid forms and colors. When I saw it for the first time I just stared at it in amazement. For me, the Pilgrimage Church of Wies connects art and theology like nowhere else in the world.

Which time of the year is the most attractive here?

Around the middle of May, when dandelions bloom in the meadows around the church. Then the church seems to lie on a golden sea of flowers before the snow-capped mountains. That's an especially beautiful image for me.

What else should I see here?

For me, contemplation is an inseparable part of seeing a church as beautiful as the Church of Wies. The wonderful guest houses in the immediate vicinity are exactly the right places for this. You can really nourish both heart and soul. Those who have enough time can also discover the other treasures of the surrounding area, for example the villages of Steingaden and Rottenbuch, which have their own magnificent churches.

Visiting World Heritage Sites means working up an appetite. What regional specialty should I try?

I would say the simple, traditional Bavarian cuisine. You should definitely try a good Weißwurst breakfast at least once and enjoy a beer with it too.

And which World Heritage Site would you like to see one day?

I'd like to go and see the Würzburg Residence again.

Georg Kirchmeir

initially he was director of the local adult education center, and then became the parish priest of the Pilgrimage Church of Wies from 1978 until 2012.

The theologist retired in 2012 at the age of 73. It was a difficult departure, since the rectory of the Pilgrimage Church of Wies had been his home for 37 years.