The small mountain village of Oberammergau, tucked away in the Ammergau Alps on the Austrian border, has secured a place for itself on the Bavarian tourist trail, thanks to its legendary Passion Play. A tradition dating back to 1634, the world-famous Oberammergau Passion Play takes place every 10 years (the next is set to take place in 2020) and is one of the world’s most unique celebrations of faith. For half a year, the villagers devote their lives to reenacting the life, death and resurrection of Christ – a pledge undertaken by their ancestors in order for God to spare them from the bubonic plague. The exhaustive 5-hour long plays (broken up by a 3-hour intermission) are held several times a week between May and October with around 2,000 villagers taking part in over a hundred shows. The extraordinary undertaking was last held in 2010 and was directed by Christian Stückl of Munich’s Volkstheater along with an acclaimed artistic team, although all performers were villagers.
You don’t have to wait years to get a taste of the action though – the 4,800 capacity Passion Play Theater is open to the public and guided tours offer the chance to learn more about the historic performances and stand on the famous stage where the reenactments take place. Don’t miss a wander around the atmospheric village of Oberammergau too, renowned for the colorful Lüftlmalerei (wall paintings) that adorn the building façades.