Witness the Passion Play
Imagine a small Bavarian village nestling in the shadows of the Alps in 1633. The Great Plague descended and many lives were lost to this mysterious illness. The villagers made a solemn vow that, if the lives of the villagers were spared the whole village would perform a play every ten years, depicting the story of Christ’s suffering, dying and resurrection. Miraculously the Plague did not claim any more lives and so true to their vows, the villagers of Oberammergau enacted their first play in 1634.
The tradition, which has continued without interruption every decade since, in spite of wars and other problems, will be continued for the 42nd time in 2020.
Famous throughout the world, it is expected that around 500,000 people will attend the Passion Play in 2020, over half of these will be guests from around the world.
Due to a play law, the performers of the play all come from the village beautiful village of Oberammergau, to maintain the tradition of the solemn vow the villagers made in 1633. Everyone taking part must have been born there, or lived in the village for at least 20 years. At times, the stage also holds small herds of sheep and goats, donkeys, a hors and armoured Roman soldiers.
From Ash Wednesday, 2019, all of the performers let their hair grow – the men also let their beards grow – so that they have an authentic biblical appearance.
Altogether, there will be more than 2000 Oberammergau villagers taking part in this world-famous play in 2020.
The play runs from mid May to the beginning of October starting at 2:30pm and finishing at 10:30pm with a break for dinner at 5pm.
The picture-perfect Bavarian town of Oberammergau is located in the picturesque Ammergau Alps, and along with the Passion Play, is also known for its wood carvings and colourful frescoes – or Lüftlmalerei – which decorate many of the buildings. The town is a good base to see the impressive Linderhof Palace – favourite of King Ludwig II, and his famous fairy tale Neuschwanstein Castle.
There is a choice of accommodation, ranging from lovingly appointed rooms in private houses to luxurious hotels. Tickets for the Passion Play are allocated along with the accommodation, and whilst we can't advise on the exact location of the seats, as a general rule, the higher the grade of accommodation, the better the seats. See the seating plan below which illustrates the location of each ticket category.
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