The Trip
The Saalburg II
Cologne II
Southwestern Black Forest
Schwäbisch Hall  Berlin

Tracing Roman Germania 1999
Tracing Roman Germania 2003 in the works
Ancient Rome as seen in the year 2001

Monastery church of St. Märgen, click for images



Having changed planes at London Heathrow, and having been informed that American had messed up my ticket by ripping off the wrong section, I finally landed safely at Euro-Airport, the airport which serves both France and Switzerland and is the closest one to Freiburg, Germany. Of course I did the wrong thing, exiting on the Swiss side, and had to go back in – customs and all – and go through the French (EU) side and finally found my friends.

I spent five days in a suburb of Freiburg, at the foothills of the Southwestern Black Forest, getting over jet lag, relaxing and seeing the sites – most of the following links are for German speakers only. It is an old city, but was heavily damaged during WWII.  Mostly though, we drove or took the train up into the mountains. Nostalgia brought me to the villages of St. Märgen and St. Peter, where I spent my first vacation while gainfully employed. This is a heavily Roman Catholic area, and the day we drove up there happened to be the day of “Fronleichnam,” Corpus Christi.

thumbnail, Markusblatt, click here for larger imageWe came too late for the procession at St. Peter, but the village band was playing, and the various stations for prayer were still laid out beautifully, carpets of flower petals and other plant parts. See photos. We visited the former Benedictine abbey of St. Peter (dissolved in 1806) and were lucky to happen on a guided tour, which takes place every Thursday. Originally founded in 1093 A.D., the abbey became part of a geographical triangle of monastic reform:  Cluny, Oiseaux, and St. Peter. It burned down several times, and the current structure is baroque. The style is local, rural “Schwarzwälder” (Black Forest) baroque, which is not as elaborate as the better known baroque churches in Bavaria. The marble is all faux, painted wood. St. Peter has a famous rococo library. It was looted by the Nazis – and by Napoleon before them – but the holdings have been partially recovered as well as partially restored through acquisitions. A famous piece is the 8th century Markusblatt or St. Mark's Page. The guide assured me that there was a website, so I did not make any notes, but unfortunately I can't find one. However, here is a bibliography (addendum 5/2003).

St. Märgen was begun as a 12th century Augustine monastery and today is a Pauline monastery and pilgrimage church. The buildings were repeatedly destroyed by fire, the last time in 1907, caused by lightning. The church is much more austere than the one of St. Peter.

Other places we visited were Hinterzarten, Titisee, and Schluchsee, near the Feldberg, the highest mountain of the Black Forest – 4,989 feet. Schluchsee has one of these interesting little churches which I sometimes came across: The original village church usually has been torn down except for the tower and maybe a chapel, and a larger church building added. The one in Schluchsee, built in 1980, is famous for the wood and iron stations of the cross by the sculptor Helmut Lutz, created between 1980 and 1985. And then there is the Protestant Church of the Twelve Apostles in Hinterzarten. From the outside, it is a very unassuming building which doesn't look much like a church, but once inside, one is almost overwhelmed by the 1960s stained glass windows, designed by Helmuth Uhrig. Here are some of my photos from both churches, and more.

Freiburg's center is the gothic cathedral, the Münster. Across from it is the 16th century Historisches Kaufhaus, which used to house the market administration. Germans were always thorough… Here is another site with images.

Sign to Augusta Raurica Archaeological ParkOther than that, my visit was made pleasant by good talk and good food…

One day, I let my hosts off their hosting duties and took the train to Basel in Switzerland and to Kaiseraugst, the ancient Augusta Raurica.

© Irene B. Hahn 2002

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