Pilgrimage and Tourist Office
E-Mail: touristinfo (at) altoetting.de
Phone: +49 (0)8671 5062-19
The Heart of Bavaria
For more than 1250 years, this town has been the spiritual centre of Bavaria and for more than 500 years the most significant place of pilgrimage in Germany in veneration of the Virgin Mary. More than 1 million pilgrims and visitors per year seek the “Black Madonna”, a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary.
Opposite the altar the hearts of the Bavarian Dukes, Kings and Electors are stored in richly decorated silver urns as a special sign of the deep and loyal ties to the Bavarian national Shrine. Among them also the heart of the fairy tale king Ludwig II: Due to the strong feelings which the Bavarian people and their sovereigns have for the sanctuary of “Our Lady of Altötting”, Altötting was given the surname “Heart of Bavaria”.
Preceded by Pope Pius VI in 1782 and Pope John Paul II in 1980, more recently Pope Benedict XVI visited what he referred to as his “spiritual homeland”. Two years later, as a token of his great esteem for the Marian shrine, he conferred the town with the Golden Rose.
A visit in Altoetting should include a visit to the Jerusalem Panorama – a monumental cyclorama showing the Crucifixion of Christ as well as the Treasury and Pilgrimage museum which houses the bridal wreath of the famous Austrian Empress “Sissi” which she donated to the Madonna of Altoetting. The St. Mary´s Association – “Exhibition of dioramas” shows 22 dioramas which are representing the history of pilgrimage in Altötting.
The pilgrimage town Altoetting is located in the lovely Upper-Bavarian Alpine region between Munich, Passau and Salzburg and at just a short distance to lake Chiemsee with the famous fairy tale castle Herrenchiemsee.
The region around Altoetting can be explored by foot on one of the numerous pilgrimage routes like the St. James’s way or by bicycle on the Benedict trail, connecting the places where Pope em. Benedict XVI spent his childhood and youth.