Hiking Ebrach - thousand-year-old oak in the Steigerwald

Hiking Ebrach - thousand-year-old oak in the Steigerwald

During our round trip through the Steigerwald, Brita also took us to the village of Wachberg above the Füttersee, the site of an oak tree that is more than a thousand years old and was probably planted there when Charlemagne was born in 742 AD.

By car you drive to the outskirts of Wachberg, then a footpath leads over the green area to the location of the oak. The mighty tree, which is approx.

ebrach 134 meters high and has a trunk circumference of a good 8.40 meters (measured at a height of 1 meter above the rootstock), can be seen from afar and attracts the eye almost magically.

Mighty branches, which alone could form a tree, tower over the huge base of the oak, which despite its age shows a healthy green foliage. Only on the back of the trunk did the ravages of time gnaw at this natural monument, so a hollow spot in the trunk was used by trespassers to ignite fireworks, which caused a fire inside the trunk.

Here, at 264 meters above sea level, the oak known as the Kaiser or Karl oak has become a tourist attraction, because such old trees are rare.

Former Cistercian monastery in Ebrach

ebrach 2Our tour continues to Ebrach in Upper Franconia, a small town with just 1,900 inhabitants between Bamberg in the east and Würzburg in the west, where we want to visit the former Cistercian monastery in Ebrach. Founded in 1127 by the Franconian nobles Benno and Richwin von Eberau, the Cistercian monastery was one of the first monasteries on the right bank of the Rhine. When the building was completed in 1147, twelve monks from Morimond Monastery moved here to Ebrach. Another fifty years later, Abbot Hermann I began building the abbey church, which was completed around 1285.

We first visited the magnificent gardens belonging to the monastery, which have a number of sculptures that make them even more attractive and leave a very well-kept impression. Then we went to the abbey church, which appeared to be really huge, which, after all, measures the stately length of 88 meters and is considered by experts to be one of the most important monuments of early Gothic architecture.

ebrach 3Even before entering, the huge window rosette with a diameter of approx. 12 meters catches the eye, which was modeled on the Notre Dame in Paris and, like the other 50 windows, the 26 altars and the magnificent interior decoration, was completely restored just a few years ago.

Should priests be allowed to marry?

Right at the entrance we came across the arrangement of 8 glass columns, some of which were filled with small stones and thus aroused our interest. The background to these pillars was some questions for the visitors, which were then to be answered by voting yes or no by throwing a pebble into the corresponding pillar. The currently much-discussed questions such as "Should priests be allowed to marry" and similar questions, on which the church visitors' opinions were generated here by voting, are highly topical.

ebrach 5We were also a little lucky with the timing of our visit, as there was a group of organists in the church, so we were able to hear the sounds of the mighty organ. In general, the equipment and decoration of the church was very open and transparent during our tour. One always had the feeling that the visitor should be involved. Despite the monstrous, impressing building that is also present here, which was often used elsewhere for the pure power demonstration of the church, one could feel comfortable here. Another interesting example of how visitors were involved were maps of Germany and the world on which visitors could use a pin to write down their place of origin. We were the second and third visitors from Turkey, which in turn immediately led to discussions with visitors who were surprised about it.

In the course of secularization, the monastery was dissolved in 1803 and the entire town was assigned to Bavaria by the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss. Since then, the monastery church has been the Catholic parish church "Maria Himmelfahrt".

Preparation for an evening concert,

ebrach 6What particularly surprised us was the fact that the windows were partially heavily barred, which we had already noticed in the first monastery buildings. After leaving the monastery church, we asked our tour guide Brita and lo and behold, the answer was more than just amazing: the huge monastery buildings have been used as a penal institution and youth prison since 1851. Almost the entire monastery complex now belongs to the Ebrach prison.

There is also a small local history museum in the side wing facing the street which is worth a visit. The concert hall, which was just open in preparation for an evening concert, was also full of splendor and splendour. Ebrach's classical concerts are known far beyond the borders of Bavaria and are therefore usually completely sold out. Here you can listen to well-known artists and musicians up close and on a smaller scale.

Homemade and fresh - wild garlic soup

ebrach 4After so much information and amazing news, we felt hungry again and asked for a “snack”, for which Brita quickly found a solution. A small garden restaurant with local cuisine was quickly found. Specialty of this house: wild garlic soup, which we tried immediately after being advised. A good tip, homemade and fresh. Yummy. A recipe for wild garlic soup can be found here!

We continued our tour and thus also reached the border triangle, a point where Upper, Middle and Lower Franconia meet. Marked by an interesting stone, a small refuge has been built here, which is popular with visitors who mainly travel by bike.

After this interesting day tour, we return to Albertshofen and end the day with a nice chat in the garden of our hostess.

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