Kloster Ettal Benedictine Abbey, Germany
This breathtakingly beautiful region of Germany is known for its strong Catholic faith as well as dense forests, Bavarian Alps and fairytale castles. Green-shuttered and gabled Bavarian-style inns, and homes decorated with religious frescoes, are found throughout these villages.
The Kloster Ettal is located about 5 kilometers from Oberammergau in a lovely valley sheltered by the steep hills of the Ammergau and was founded by Duke Ludwig the Bavarian in 1330. Monks, knights and ladies shared the honor of guarding the statue of the Virgin Mary kept here. In the 18th Century, the golden age of the abbey, there were about 70,000 pilgrims here every year.
In addition, the Monks made a famous liquer and brewed beer here beginning in the 17th Century.
Over the years, as secularization increased, the monastery was taken over by the Bavarian government but then in 1900, the Monastery was again in the hands of the Monks.
You can enjoy a tour of this great monastery before stopping in the gift shop where various local crafts can be purchased as well as Ettaler, a famous liqueur made from a centuries-old recipe, that is still distilled at the monastery by the monks. There is an admission charge to the distillery which also includes a tasting, it is around 6 Euros per person.
And, of course, there is a wonderful beer garden where you can sample the very unique beer brewed here. The Kloster is open most days without reservations. There are daily Masses as well as well as vespers. Escorted tours are available for groups of 25 or more.
If traveling by train the nearest station is Oberammergau to the north or Garmish-Partenkirchen to the south. From either station you can take a taxi to the shrine.
Photos credits Wikipedia.