A Side Trip to Weingarten
A major archaeological excavation is located within the agrarian hamlet of Weingarten, a sleepy village 5km (3 miles) north of Ravensburg. To reach the village, take bus no. 1, 2, or 5 from Marienplatz. In the 1950s, teams of archaeologists discovered one of the richest troves of German graves in the country. Artifacts from the dig lie in the Alamannen Museum, located in Kornhaus, Karlstrasse 28 (tel. 0751/405125). It's open Tuesday to Sunday 2 to 5pm (Thurs until 6pm). Admission is 3.50€.
Weingarten is also home to the largest baroque church in Germany, the Weingarten Basilica (tel. 0751/561270), which rises to about 60m (200 ft.). It was established in 1056 by the wife of a prominent official in the Guelph dynasty. Inside is one of the holiest relics in Germany, a mystical vial, which, according to legend, contains several drops of Christ's blood. The relic was entrusted to the convent by the sister-in-law of William the Conqueror, the Guelph Queen Juditha. Another highlight of the church is the organ with 6666 pipes, one of the largest in the country. Its installation required 13 years, beginning in 1737. Also noteworthy are the ceiling frescoes by Cosmas Damian Asam, one of the leaders of the Baroque School. The church is open daily 8am to 6pm.
Finally, if you can manage to schedule your visit for the day after Ascension (the Thurs 40 days after Easter), you can witness the Blutritt, a massive procession of pilgrims, at the head of which are more than 3,000 horsemen. The breeding of horses for this procession is a matter of quiet pride among local farmers. For information, visit www.blutfreitag.de.
For information on Weingarten, call the tourist office at Münsterplatz (tel. 0751/405232; www.weingarten-online.de).