Everything you need to know about Oberammergau's Passion Play

3 minute read

In 2022, the small Bavarian village of Oberammergau in Germany will host its 42nd Passion Play. But what is the Passion Play and why is it so famous? Read on to discover the history behind Oberammergau’s Passion Play and why you should add it to your bucket list.

What is the Passion Play?

Held only once every 10 years, Oberammergau’s Passion Play has been captivating visitors for centuries.

The origins of the play date back to 1633 when the Bavarian village of Oberammergau was struck by the Great Plague. The inhabitants prayed for their lives to be spared, and in return pledged an oath to perform a play once every 10 years depicting the suffering and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Miraculously the deaths stopped, and so the tradition endured, starting with the town’s legendary first performance in 1634.

Fast-forward 350 years and the play now attracts thousands of visitors, who travel from all corners of the globe to see the play in action.

Cruxifiction scene from the Oberammergau Passion Play


Where is the Passion Play held?

Oberammergau is a picturesque town nestled at the western edge of the Bavarian Alps. The sleepy alpine community comes alive every 10 years, with about half of the townspeople participating in over a hundred performances between May and October.

For the first 200 years, the Passion Play performances were held over the graves of the Black Death victims in Oberammergau’s local cemetery. A new location for the play was decided in 1820, with the play now taking place in the open-air stage of the Passion Play Theatre – a venue large enough to accommodate over 5,000 people!

The Passion Play theatre in Oberammergau


Fascinating facts about the Passion Play

Scene from the Oberammergau Passion Play

What else is there to do in Oberammergau?

Oberammergau is surrounded by breathtaking Bavarian mountain scenery, punctuated with scenic hiking trails and biking routes – making it ideal for walking and cycling in the summer months.

Head to the Oberammergau museum to see some exquisite examples of the town’s famously intricate woodcarving art. The town also hides some of the most glorious frescoes; dive into the elegant 18th century St. Peter and Paul Church to see the beauty for yourself.

It’s also just a 90 minute drive from Munich, giving you a great opportunity to explore another famous German city.

The beautiful mountain scenery of Oberammergau

Oberammergau Passion Play 2022 packages

Held only once every 10 years, Oberammergau’s Passion Play is truly a once in a lifetime experience to tick off your bucket list.

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