13 Days - The Holy Land with Oberammergau “Passion Play”

“What makes this performance so extraordinary is how the Stage truly comes alive! Not only in the decoration of the Set and the performance of the Actors, but with real animals and birds playing under the open sky. There are thirty-six (36) main actors who are dressed in white costumes, with their supporting cast dressed in greyish blue. The actors do not wear makeup, as that is their natural hair. Every scene is real, and live, so for example: the actor who is tied to the cross has to stay in that position for more than one (1) hour In between each scene, there are “Living Tableaus”, where the live actors perform intricate sets of the Old Testament. You can never describe the feeling you get, as you see these stories being performed right in front of you”.

BOOK YOUR TRIP
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YOUR TRIP INCLUDES:

  • Round Trip Airfare.
  • All airport taxes and Fuel SURCHARGES.
  • Includes First class Hotels 4 stars.
  • Headphones for the pilgrimage.
  • Transfers as per itinerary.
  • Breakfast and Dinner daily.
  • Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary.
  • Daily Masses.
  • Professional local Catholic guide(s)
  • Prices Based on Double Occupancy.
  • Tour Brochures: Special promotional brochures featuring the Pilgrimage printed for distribution by you.
  • Travel Protection Plan for Everybody on Pilgrimage is provided for FREE.
YOUR TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:

  • Trip cancellation protection plan is not included and is strongly recommended.
  • Nativity Pilgrimage offers a comprehensive policy at additional cost.
  • Passport & visa costs, if any.
  • S. Passports must be valid for at least six (6) months subsequent to return date.
  • Items of a personal nature (hotel extras, laundry, phone calls, etc.).
  • Meals not specified in the program.
  • Gratuities to the tour manager, guides and driver.
  • Items not specifically mentioned above.

In the 17th century the thirty years’ war took place (1618-1648) in central Europe and was one of history’s most devastating. As a result of the war, poverty and disease was widespread and thousands died as a result of the plague. In the small village of Oberammergau alone there were 80 deaths. During this time of suffering the citizens of Oberammergau made a sacred pledge that every 10 years they would perform a “Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ” if God would protect them from the plague. Legend has it that after the vow was made, there was not even one further case of Bubonic Plague in the village and those town members that already were afflicted recovered.

The promise was fulfilled for the first time during Pentecost in 1634 and every 10 years since, the villagers of Oberammergau have continued to implement their pledge with the exception of 1940 when the play was cancelled due to World War 2.

This tradition has continued over 4 centuries with only residents of Oberammergau permitted to actually take part. The participants devote a year of their lives to re-enact the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. All of the people taking part in the Passion play or as it is known in German “Passionsspiele” are ordinary people who carry on pursuing their normal everyday lives such as doctors, teachers, housewives etc. All the main speaking parts have always been filled by actors who were born in Oberammergau or have lived there for at least 20 years. This custom has remained throughout the 380 years since this world famous Passion Play was first performed.

The Passion Play (Passionsspiele) takes place in an open theatre that seats approximately 5.000 people, with a magnificent mountain background and performances take place 5 days a week from May until late September/early October. Even though the play is in German, people from around the world, many of them not religious, come to experience the fascinating way the town comes together to perform the Passion Play. It is estimated that more than half a million visitors came to Oberammergau in 2010 to see the play.

Originally the play was performed in the parish church which soon proved to be too small and it was then held in the Church graveyard. Over the years there were a number of changes, until in the 18th century the graveyard venue was also too small and the play was moved to a nearby field with a new stage having to be built each year. Eventually towards the end of the 19th century a permanent stage was built with outstanding acoustics and seating for approximately 4000 spectators. The present day stage looks very similar but has been enlarged from time to time and renovated to include comfortable seating, underfloor heating, and modern toilet facilities. It is wheelchair accessible and has a seating capacity for an audience of more than 4700.

In addition to the 21 main cast roles about half the inhabitants of Oberammergau devotedly re-enact the story of Jesus. None of the participants see themselves as professional actors and all have normal jobs but see the honour of taking part in the Passion Play as a reward in itself.

Preparations for 2020 have already begun with the exact schedule to be decided by 2017. Rehearsals take about 10 months and in preparation for the 2020 play, in 2019 by Ash Wednesday all participants, according to tradition, will start growing their hair and the men will grow beards and by autumn 2019 rehearsals for the Passion Play will begin. Only those portraying Romans naturally do not have to grow beards.

Things To See In Garmisch-Partenkirchen District


One of the most beautiful mountain resorts in Germany is the Garmisch-Partenkirchen District. Situated in the heart of Bavaria, it’s a mountain resort town with a border that touches Austria. The Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany, is located very close. Apart from being one of the most beautiful places in the country, the district was also the home of the 1936 Olympic Winter Games.

For many centuries, the two towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen were completely different. It wasn’t until 1935, when Adolf Hitler forced the mayors of the two towns to merge together. There’s a significant difference between the two towns as well. The cobblestoned, fresco-filled streets of Partenkirchen harken back to the days of old, while the asphalt-lined, modern-styled streets of Garmisch offer a bit of modern appeal.

There are plenty of places that you can see and visit through the Garmisch-Partenkirchen District. Here are some of the best attractions.

Due to its close proximity, the Zugspitze is one of the most popular destinations for people who visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen. If you go during the winters, you can easily enjoy time skiing or relaxing at many of the beautiful mountain lodges located along the way. The Zugspitze has a huge mountain resort, as well, which attracts skiing enthusiasts from all over the country.

The Bavarian Alps


If you are into hiking and trekking, why not take a trip to the Bavarian Alps? There are guided tours that leave from the Garmisch-Partenkirchen district to numerous ranges in the Bavarian Alps. The tours generally range in terms of difficulty, so if this is the first time that you are going hiking, it would be best to choose a beginner tour. As you become more experienced, you can take on greater challenges!

Riessersee


The gorgeous Riessersee lake is a must-visit for tourists in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It was used as the main lake for hosting the speed skating events back in the 1936 Winter Olympics. The lake is situated on the southwestern side of the district. It’s arguably one of the most scenic places that you can visit in the country, with enormous mountains rising in the background and trees littering the horizon. Many have said that the Riessersee has a very calming influence on them when they arrive.

Fern Pass


The Fern Pass is situated in the Tyrolean Alps in Austria, though a small portion of it also moves through the Zugspitze. The summit of the Fern Pass goes as high as 1,210 meters. The pass was created by a massive mountain slide, and it was developed over time by travelers. It’s currently regarded as one of the most popular destinations for tourists who are visiting the district.

Zirbel


While the region itself is all about hiking and travelling, there are plenty of local delicacies that you can try here as well. Characterized by an old, iconic bear, the Zirbel is a local pub that has been standing tall for many years. It’s a popular destination for tourists who just want to rest and drink some beer after a tiring day. However, the menu doesn’t just stop at drinks—you can try out their exciting schnitzel or noodle dishes if you really want a proper.

Jagdschloss Schachen


Arguably one of the most popular hiking routes in the district, this one takes you straight to King Ludwig II’s hunting lodge. It’s around 10 kilometers long, and you will notice the plain wooden hut from a considerable distance away. However, while the exterior may be simple, the interior looks like something out of an Arabian fairytale.

The picturesque village of Oberammergau, in its lovely mountain setting is situated in Bavaria Germany in the district of Garmisch-Partenkiirchen near the Austrian border.

It is widely known for its Passionsspiele (Passion Play) that is performed every 10 years. This charming town is also known for its woodcarvers who have been skilled at this craft continuously ever since medieval times and there are many shops that offer these wonderful carvings in a variety of sizes.

Even in the years between the enactment of the play there are many interesting places to visit. Walking through the village itself is a fascinating experience with its splendid buildings, lovely woodcarvings and delightful traditions. There are traditional fairytale houses with colorful pictures on the exteriors, painted by artists. This is an old custom that has been carried on through the ages and continued in modern times.

The area also has some of Bavarias outstanding churches and castles.

INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR TRIP
  • Capital: Berlin
  • Language: German
  • Population: 81 million
  • Time Zone: EST plus 6 hours
  • Currency: Euro (EUR or €)
  • Electricity: 230V. 50Hz
Read More About GermanyRead More About Holy Land

ITINERARY
Day
1

Monday: USA to Tel Aviv

Today: Your pilgrimage begins today as you depart on your overnight flight to Israel. Meals and drinks served aloft.

Day
2

Tuesday: Tel Aviv / Sea of Galilee

Today: Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport. Travel through customs and meet our guide who will accompany you throughout your pilgrimage. Board your coach bus for the trip to your hotel in Tiberias.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations will be at your hotel.

Day
3

Wednesday: Mt. Tabor / Cana / Nazareth

Today: This morning, we travel to Mount Tabor, scene of the Transfiguration. After our visit, we drive to Cana, the village of Jesus’ first miracle of changing water into wine. We celebrate Mass at the Chapel in Cana. Here couples may renew their wedding vows. This afternoon, you will visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, St. Joseph’s Church, Mary’s Well and the old market.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations will be at your hotel.

Day
4

Thursday: Sea of Galilee / Capernaum / Tiberias

Today: Traveling along the shores of the Sea of Galilee our tour starts at Capernaum where Jesus lived, and started his ministry. You will see the remnants of Peter’s mother-in law house and the old synagogue where Jesus preached. You will then proceed to the Mount of Beatitudes (the location of Sermon of the Mount) and celebrate Mass. Drive onto Tabgha where the miracle of Multiplication of the Fish and Loaves took place. Close by, is the Church of Peter’s Primacy the location of the Miraculous Fishing. Here is where Christ told his disciples to cast their net and caught the large quantity of fish. This is also where he proclaimed to Peter “Upon this Rock I will build my Church”. Then you will take a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee as was done in the time of Jesus.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodation will be at your hotel.

Day
5

Friday: Haifa / Mt. Carmel / Stella Maris / Caesarea by The Sea – Jerusalem

Today: We drive west to the beautiful City of Haifa and go onto Mt. Carmel where The Carmelites established their monastery 900 years ago. We celebrate Mass at the Church of Stella Maris,” the Star of the Sea”. Atop a hill, you are captivated by the panoramic view of the City Haifa and the beautiful Baha’i Gardens. We continue our drive south along the Mediterranean Sea and stop at Caesar of Maritime. This is where St. Peter baptized Cornelius and St. Paul was a prisoner for two years before his transport to Rome and martyrdom. We view the original Roman Aqueduct that brought water to the city and walk in and around the Roman Theater. Take a glimpse of the ancient remains of Herod’s palace sitting in the tranquil blue Mediterranean. We now travel south and climb the hill up towards the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations will be at your hotel.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations will be at your hotel.

Day
6

Saturday: Bethlehem / Shepherd’s Field / Church of The Nativity / Ein Karem

Today: We start our visit in Bethlehem and visit the Shepherd’s Fields where the angels announced to the shepherds the birth of the Christ Child. Then we visit the Church of the Nativity that stands upon the site where Jesus was born. Mass will be held in Bethlehem at St. Catherine of Alexandra or the Shepherds Field’s Chapel.  We take time to shop in Bethlehem. After lunch, we drive to the Village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of St. John the Baptist and to the Church of the Visitation where the Blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth, and proclaimed the ‘Magnificat’.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations will be at your hotel.

Day
7

Sunday: Jerusalem / Mt. of Olives / Getsemane / Pater Noster / Dominus Flevit / Upper Room / Dorminion Church / Church of St. Peter Gallicantu

Today: We begin our day with a visit to the Mt. of Olives. This includes a dramatic view of the Old City from the Mount of Olives, revealing a city with 4,000 years of history. We visit the Pater Noster where Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer to his disciples. We walk the Palm Sunday route stopping at Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see The Rock of Agony where Jesus prayed his last prayer before his arrest. Mass will be at the Church of all Nations. This afternoon, we drive to the hill of Mount Zion, the highest point in ancient Jerusalem, it is dominated by the Church of the Dormition. The location is identified in Christian tradition as the place where the Virgin Mary died — or “fell asleep”, as the name suggests. End our day St. Peter in Gallicantu. where Peter denied Our Lord thrice.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations will be at your hotel.

Day
8

Monday: Jerusalem

Today: We retrace the last steps of Jesus, as we walk along the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow), through the markets of the Old City praying the Stations of the Cross. We reflect on the greatness of his sacrifice. Finally, we arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to celebrate Mass. At St. Anne’s Church, the home of the Virgin Mary and her parents Saints Joachim and Anne we stop for a short prayer. We pass the Ecce Home where Pilate proclaimed “Behold the man”; then on to the Wailing Wall, the most holy place for Jews. The rest of the day is open for visits to other Holy Sites, shopping or resting at your hotel.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations will be at your hotel.

Day
9

Tuesday: Bethany / Jordan River / Jericho / Qumran / Dead Sea

Today: We visit Bethany, site where Lazarus lived with his sisters Martha and Maria. After visiting Lazarus church, continue to the Jordan River to renew our baptismal vows. Drive down the Jordan Valley and stop at the oasis town of Jericho. Visit the excavations of the oldest city in the world. We view the Mt. of Temptation where Jesus fasted and was tempted by Satan. We will visit the excavations of Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were uncovered. On the way back, there is time for a swim (or rather a float!) in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea, renowned for its healing properties. Return towards Bethlehem.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations will be at your hotel.

Day
10

Wednesday: Tel Aviv / Oberammergau

Today: After breakfast transfer to Tel Aviv airport for your flights to Munich. Upon arrival at Munich Airport, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the arrival’s hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. Enjoy a picturesque ride through Bavaria arriving at your hotel in Oberammergau (or nearby). Time permitting walk the quaint streets of Oberammergau. The incredible 2,000 Oberammergau citizens are the actual actors, singers, instrumentalists and stage technicians. They are ordinary citizens who lead an everyday life. Later in the afternoon we will celebrate Mass followed by a welcome dinner.

Evening: Overnight accommodations will be at your hotel.

Day
11

Thursday: Oberammergau / Passion Play: Performance Day

Today: We will start our day by celebrating Mass. Then there will be some free time to relax and spend at your own leisure, before meeting to enjoy lunch together. After which we will make our way to the world famous Passion Play Theatre, to attend what will be a performance of a lifetime – the 42nd Oberammergau Passion Play. The Play runs for approximately five and a half hours, and is performed in two (2) Acts.

Act I will begin at 2:30 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.
(Intermission: From 5:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M., you will have dinner at a restaurant that is walking distance from the theatre)

Act II will begin at 8:00 P.M., and conclude at 10:30 P.M.
Evening: Overnight accommodations will be at your hotel.

Day
12

Friday: Oberammergau / Munich

Today: After breakfast, we will depart the Oberammergau area to Munich. Munich is the capital of Bavaria, one of Germany’s popular destination. Upon arrival enjoy visiting many of Munich’s top sites; Marienplatz with its world famous “Glockenspiel” the twin-towered Frauenkirche (the Church of Our Lady), which serves as the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Munich. The Cathedral is widely considered a symbol of Munich. Celebrate Mass followed by free time for lunch and/or shopping.

Evening: Dinner and overnight accommodations will be at your hotel.

Day
13

Saturday: Munich to USA

Today: This morning we will transfer to the airport to catch our return flight home.