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Germany, 9 Days

Via Sacra, Traditional Catholic pilgrimage sites: Berlin, Ostritz, Gorlitz, Cistercian St. Marienstern Abbey, Krzeszów, Hejnice, Liberec, Mnichovo Hradište, Zittau and Bautzen

 GER - 20109 Via Sacra

  • Itinerary

    Day 1: Arrival in Berlin. Transfer to hotel and check in for 2 nights.

    Day 2: Berlin. First, see Berlin's most iconic sights such as the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate in a bus tour around the city. Experience the Old Town of Berlin, called "Nikolaiviertel", with its historic architectural monuments in a walking tour to St. Nicholas' Church where Paul Gerhardt worked as a deacon. Continue on a guided city tour to the main sights: Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, Gendarmenmarkt, Bernau Strasse, Alexanderplatz, Church of St. Mary's, Berlin Cathedral, St. Hedwig's Cathedral, Museum Island and the avenue "Unter den Linden". Return to hotel.

    Day 3: Continue to Ostritz in Saxony. Guided tour of the Cistercian Convent St. Marienthal, the oldest convent of the Cistercian Order in Germany founded in 1234 by Kunigundis of Bohemia. Free time to explore the Klosterschenke, herb gardens, exhibition or the forest in a walk along the "Walderlebnispfad" trail on your own. Check in to hotel for 2 nights.

    Day 4: Continue to Gorlitz in Upper Lusatia, Germany's easternmost city. Situated on the Neisse River, since 1945 also the border to Poland and both on the medieval trade route Via Regia and St. James' Way, Gorlitz was first officially mentioned in 1071. Since the 16th century Gorlitz is a Protestant city. Start a guided tour of the Old Town at the Holy Sepulcher in the center of a medieval pilgrimage site. The complex comprises the double chapel of the Holy Cross, the Unctorium (anointing room) and the funeral chapel, a replica of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The ensemble of the Church of St. Peter and Paul, the Stations of the Cross and the Holy Sepulcher in Gorlitz are both a remarkable testimony to late medieval piety and landscape planning of European standing. Visit to the Church of St. Peter. Continue to Panschwitz-Kuckau to the Cistercian St. Marienstern Abbey. Tour of the lively Cistercian Abbey between time-honored walls. The treasury reveals precious objects of the 13th to the 20th century. In the convent gardens herbs and foods are cultured in a fashion combining tradition and the modern horticulture. Spend a few minutes in the tranquility of the Abbey Church. Free time in Gorlitz in the afternoon. Return to Ostritz.

    Day 5: Continue to the monastery complex of Krzeszów, Poland. In 1998 Pope John Paul II raised the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the status of a 'basilica minor'. Its amenity unchanged and preserved, the former pilgrimage site Krzeszów Abbey is among the most significant Baroque buildings of Poland. Go on to St. Mary's Church with the miraculous image of the Madonna and infant Jesus as object of worship. The nearby St. Joseph's Church is famous for the 50 large-format frescoes by Michael Willmann, most important Baroque painter of Silesia. Tour of the foothills of the Krkonoše 'Giant Mountains' to the Jelenia Góra valley. Opportunity to visit the Vang stave church in Karpacz. Built in the 12th century in Viking architecture at Lake Vang in Norway, the church today stands in Karpacz. King Frederick William IV bought the House of God as it was scheduled for demolition. Dismantled and packed, the stave church traveled by ship and horse carriage in 1841/42 via Szczecin and Berlin to Silesia, was rebuilt in 1844 and consecrated in the presence of the King. Return to Ostritz.

    Day 6: Continue across the Czech border to the Pilgrimage Basilica of the Visitation in Hejnice, one of the finest Baroque churches in the Sudetenland. Continue to Liberec for a tour of the Old Town including the Opera, Town Hall and Liberec Castle. Continue to Ceský Dub. Visit the monastery of the Order of St. John and the Commandry. Continue to Mnichovo Hradište for a visit of the castle, surrounding parks, St. Anna's Chapel, and the tomb of Albrecht von Wallenstein.

    Day 7: Continue to Zittau. In a tour see the city and the Lenten veil: the unique work of art of impressive size, grand appearance and with a gripping history the veil was created in 1472 by an unknown master. It depicts scenes of the Old and New Testament from the Creation of the World to the Last Judgment. Continue along the Zittau Mountains to the museum at the Castle and Monastery of Oybin where nature and man created a unique structure: what remains are the ruins of the Bohemian royal castle and Celestine monastery in the Zittau Mountains. Visit the impressive remains of the defensive works, Imperial house and monastic church and the 'wedding church'.

    Day 8: Continue to Bautzen to attend mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter and a guided tour of the cathedral with an extraordinary nave. The cathedral is the oldest and largest shared church (since 1524) in Germany containing treasures such as a wooden crucifix by Balthasar Permoser, sculptor of the Dresden Zwinger, and a high altar in Renaissance style by an unknown artist of Zittau. Other precious objects are exhibited in the nearby treasury in the Cathedral chapter of St. Peter. Return to hotel.

    Day 9: Departure.

    (subject to alterations)

  • Tour includes

    Accompanying English-speaking tour host, coach rides and day trips in a modern long-distance coach, experienced driver, and accommodation in mid-price hotels, double rooms with ensuite bathroom; breakfast and dinner, guided tours by trained local tour guides, maps and informative material.

  • Not included

    Tips, admission fees, beverages, personal expenses, possible increases in fuel prices.