When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Germany

Winter Wonder: In The Bavarian Woods, A Real Church Made Of Ice And Snow

With enough space to hold 200 people and an icy 17-meter-high tower, the Schneekirchen snow church has been christened near the German town of Mitterfirmiansreut. Builders had to overcome both architectural and ecclesiastical challenges, not to mention Mo

The snow church in Mitterfirmiansreut can hold up to 200 people
The snow church in Mitterfirmiansreut can hold up to 200 people
Uli Scherr

MITTERFIRMIANSREUT - There was no time off at Christmas for the builder in Mitterfirmiansreut this year. "We spent day and night constructing the snow church," says Julia Herzig of the "Schneekirchen-Büro" (Snow Church Office) in Mitterfirmiansreut, Germany.

Work started in the middle of December in this small, forested mountain village in the Bavaria region. After numerous delays and difficulties, the unusual construction was finally ready in time for Christmas.

Based on plans by architect Alfons Doeringer, the building is 26 meters long – enough space to hold up to 200 people. The tower, made of ice and snow, is 17 meters high. Despite the growing interest in such a spectacular project, organizers faced many unexpected difficulties as they set out to realize the ambitious plan. The biggest problem was Mother Nature: at a time of year when the Bavarian woods are usually deep in snow, no snow actually fell until the middle of December. The grand opening of the church, originally scheduled for December 17, had to be postponed.

There were also financial problems. "We're still looking for sponsors," says Herzig. The cost of designing and building the church is in the six figures. Public money for the project did not come in as expected, so now organizers are hoping to recoup what they spent from paid admissions. One entry costs 5 euros (children are free), and tickets can be booked ahead. (more information at www.schneekirche.de.)

Exortation from the bishop

In the lead-up to the grand opening, the Catholic Church also had some issues. The bishop of the Passau diocese, Wilhelm Schraml, declined the request of the Mitterfirmiansreut organizers to attend the consecration of their Snow Church, and forbid its use for weddings and baptisms. In the light of the project's growing popularity, he later warned in a letter "that all liturgical ceremonies and events held in the church must maintain a character befitting of a church."

A compromise was finally worked out: the rural dean, Kajetan Steinbeißer, was charged with consecrating the church at its opening ceremony. Steinbeißer viewed the project with a great deal of sympathy. "The Snow Church is a memorial honoring our forefathers," he says.

The main idea behind building the Snow Church in Mitterfirmiansreut was to honor an unusual event in their history. In 1911, villagers also built a church made of snow – but theirs was a protest.

In the early 20th century, attending a Sunday service meant that villagers had to walk for one and a half hours in the freezing cold to the neighboring village of Mauth. For years they asked in vain that a church be built in Mitterfirmiansreut. So finally in 1911, they decided to protest by building their own church, out of snow.

Bernd Stiefvater, who had the idea for the 2011 project, stresses that the idea was not essentially a commercial one. "It's to keep the history of Mitterfirmiansreut alive," he says.

Read the original article in German

Photo - Youtube

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ