Affectionately coined the "Swabian St. Peter's", the Basilica of St. Martin is the most prominent Baroque church on the Upper Swabian Baroque Route. Although it is not as large as St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, it houses a very special treasure: the relic of the Holy Blood of Jesus.
The location of the abbey grounds at the top of the Martinsberg hill overlooking Weingarten symbolises its power. Built in the 11th century by the House of Welf, it has switched between being a Benedictine abbey, parish church, and, until 2010, home to Benedictine monks once again. The Basilica of St. Martin, which was built in the exact same place as the former Romanesque abbey church, embodies the magnificence of Baroque architecture. Its dome is 67 metres high, making it the tallest Baroque church to the north of the Alps.
The basilica resembles St. Peter's in Rome. Even though it is not as large, the appeal of the church, which was consecrated in 1724, is in no way inferior. It boasts an impressive interior with sublime ceiling frescos and one of the most noteworthy preserved Baroque organs in southern Germany, with resplendent altars and a feature that has transformed the church into one of the most important places of pilgrimage: the relic of the Holy Blood, a gold double cross encrusted with gems that, legend has it, contains a drop of Jesus' blood mixed with soil. The relic is taken on a procession through Weingarten and the surrounding area every year on the Friday after the feast of the Ascension. Today, the procession is accompanied by pilgrims and worshippers – both male and female, although the Holy Blood procession is traditionally a men's pilgrimage.
Opening hours: November to March: 8am to 5pm; April to October: 8am to 7pm
Nearest train station: Ulm
Tours of the basilica available on Sundays and bank holidays from May to October; themed tours available; all guided tours are free, although a donation is requested;
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