Fränkische Schweiz

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Castle & Basilica in Gößweinstein, Germany


The Balthasar Neumann Wallfahrtbasilika zur Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit

Gößweinstein’s Balthasar Neumann Wallfahrtbasilika zur Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit is the top cultural sight in the beautiful Fränkische Schweiz (Franconian Switzerland) in Bavaria.

© Tourismuszentrale Fränkische Schweiz

Gößweinstein is at the heart of Fränkische Schweiz tourism – only nearby Pottenstein sees more visitors. In Gößweinstein, the Wiesent, Püttlach, and Ailsbach streams flow together. The nature is beautiful but the main attractions are man made: the Baroque Wallfahrtskirche and the Historicist Burg Gößweinstein.


Gößweinstein Tourist Information

Haus des Gastes, Burgstraße 6, 91327 Gößweinstein, tel 09242-456, fax 09242-1863.


Burg Gößweinstein Castle

When approaching Gößweinstein through the Wiesent Valley, Burg Gößweinstein, tel 09242-7199, on a hill is the first and for long the only sign of human settlement. It is one of the oldest castles in the region dating from around 1000. It was restored in a romantic Historicist style at the end of the 19th century and now has an inaccurate neo-Gothic appearance. It is claimed that Burg Gößweinstein inspired Gralsburg in the opera Parsifal by Richard Wagner, who stayed in the area in 1879. Only a small part of the interior can be seen but the view alone makes the five-minute hike from the town worth the effort. Opening hours are Easter to October, daily from 10 am to 6 pm. Admission is €2.


The Balthasar Neumann Wallfahrtbasilika zur Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit

© Tourismuszentrale Fränkische Schweiz

The main sight in Gößweinstein is the Wallfahrtbasilika zur Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit (Pilgrimage Basilica of the Holy Trinity), Balthasar-Neumann-Straße 2, tel 09242-264. The history of the pilgrimage site may date back to 934. However, indisputable proof of the pilgrimage site dates only from the 15th century with the Gnadenbild (Mercy Statue) of Mary being crowned by the holy trinity dating probably from 1510.

By the early 18th century, the existing chapel was too small and the bishop of Bamberg ordered Baroque master builder Balthasar Neumann to erect something more suitable. In 1730, Neumann started the masterpiece that still draws in the crowds. A fire damaged large parts of the roof in 1746 and the church as it is known today was only completed in 1768.

The exterior is typical Baroque with two slender spires and some decorations. The interior is harmonious with wonderful stuccowork by Franz Jakob Vogel. Cosmos Damian Asam und Giuseppe Appiani were supposed to have done the frescos but contractual problems left the work undone until 1928.

Annually, from May to October, around 120 pilgrimage groups visit the basilica by marching on foot from their hometowns – the longest trek is just over 110 km/68 miles. These groups arrive mostly with trumpet music on weekends. Thousands more visitors spew out of buses or private car all year round.

  • Concerts are occasionally scheduled in the church.

Opening hours are daily from 8 am to 6 pm. The Votivkammer is only open from May to October. On Friday at 10:30 am during the same months, the guided tour includes a short organ recital. Admission is free.



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