Käppele (Würzburg)

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Käppele of the Marienberg Fortress seen from
Aerial photograph
Interior of the pilgrimage church
Old Chapel of Grace with Pietà (around 1640)
Ceiling fresco in the choir of the chapel

Käppele is the popular name of the pilgrimage church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary on the Nikolausberg in Würzburg .



According to plans by Balthasar Neumann , the pilgrimage church with the two octagonal facade towers was built across in front of the old Gnadenkapelle from 1748 to 1750, with the design of the exterior probably being guided by the vaulted outline of the Haug Abbey Church, completed by Antonio Petrini in 1691 . The formerly small wooden chapel was based on a wayside shrine that was erected in 1640 by a fisherman from the Main in his vineyard during the Thirty Years' War . The wayside shrine contained a depiction of the painful mother with the dead Jesus on her lap ( Vesper picture ). A first small chapel was built around 1653 and was continuously expanded. This chapel of grace was integrated into the new building of the pilgrimage church from 1778 to 1781. The church was consecrated only in 1824 by Bishop Adam Friedrich Groß zu Trockau .

At the end of the Second World War , the chapel was spared from destruction twice. During the bombing raid on Würzburg on March 16, 1945 , the church was hit by half a dozen phosphorus incendiary bombs , the fires could be extinguished and a hole in the church roof above the organ remained as damage. Private Ludwig Herrmann from Geldersheim stubbornly refused to take an order from the SS on April 4, 1945 to destroy the Käppele on the left of the Main from the right side of the Main with converted anti-aircraft guns . With that he saved the Käppele from ruin.


The pilgrimage to the Mother of Sorrows , which developed during the Thirty Years' War, was looked after by the Capuchins from 1749 , whose convent was located in the hospice built in 1748 . After the abolition of the Capuchin monastery in downtown Würzburg (Kapuzinerstraße) after the secularization of 1803, the hospice could continue to exist. Around the middle of the 19th century, the members of All Souls met there brotherhood and a brotherhood of Our Lady of Sorrows . The pilgrimage continued to be looked after by the Capuchins and the temporarily orphaned hospice was again occupied by Capuchins from 1836. On October 19, 2014, the Capuchins left the monastery after 260 years, after this had already been announced in March of that year.


The ceiling frescoes in the chapel show the motif of the Descent from the Cross and Mary as an apocalyptic woman. They were created in 1781 by the Bavarian painter Matthäus Günther .

The altar of the old Chapel of Mercy still contains the original Pietà from around 1640.



The organ of the Käppele was built in 1991 by the Hardheim organ builder Vleugels in the historical organ prospectus from 1750. Like the no longer preserved work, this case comes from the workshop of Johann Christian Köhler . The new or reconstructed disposition is almost identical to that of Koehler. The purely mechanical instrument has 31 stops on two manuals and a pedal. The many subsidiary registers are striking. The wind is supplied via four wedge bellows.

I main work C – f 3
1. Principal 8th'
2. Reed flutes 8th'
3. Viola di gamba 8th'
4th Solicional 8th'
5. Octava 4 ′
6th Flauto Italiano 4 ′
7th Pointed flutes 4 ′
8th. Sesquialtera II 2 23
9. Super Octava 2 ′
10. Mixture V 2 ′
11. Fagotto 8th'
12. Trompetta B / D 8th'
II Positive C – f 3
13. Dumped 8th'
14th Fugara 8th'
15th Piffara 8th'
16. Principal 4 ′
17th Flauto di Amore 4 ′
18th Quinta 2 23
19th Octava 2 ′
20th Flacionet 2 ′
21st third 1 35
22nd Mixture IV 1'
23. Krummhorn 8th'
24. Vox humana 8th'
Glockenspiel (from c 0 )
Pedal C – d 1
25th Sub bass 16 ′
26th Principal bass 8th'
27. Violon bass 8th'
28. Quintbass 5 13
29 Octavbass 4 ′
30th Mixturbass IV 2 ′
31. Trombone bass 16 ′

A very detailed and thorough documentation of the historical preservation findings and the reconstruction of the Koehler organ can be found on the Käppele website.


The main ring is a major ring with the tones f 1 , g 1 , a 1 and c 2 . The bell foundry Klaus in Heidingsfeld cast them in 1929. Bells 1 and 4 hang on the east tower, bells 2 and 3 on the west tower. Two more bells from the 18th century with the tones G sharp 2 and B 2 hang in the roof turret .

Station path

Station of the Cross
Station path

A staircase leads to the Käppele with ("depending on the number") 247 or 265 steps, which, viewed halfway up the banks of the Main, was built from 1761 to 1799 as a crossroads . The stations of the cross with the staircases were renovated from October 2002 to October 2006 for 4.4 million euros. The Stationsweg is the largest of its kind in Germany. It is laid out in the form of paved terraces on which large plane trees provide shade. A symmetrical staircase leads from one terrace to the next higher.

The ensemble of church and stations of the cross, embedded in the vineyard landscape, is considered to be an important gem of the late baroque era . The Käppele is one of the few churches in the city that survived the bombing of Würzburg on March 16, 1945 without major damage.


  • Winfried Jestaedt: The Würzburger Käppele. Echter Verlag, Würzburg 1999.
  • Paul-Werner Scheele : The Würzburger Käppele. Pilgrimage, Way of the Cross, Chapel of Grace, Pilgrimage Church. Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-7954-2394-0 .

Web links

Commons : Käppele  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Stefan Kummer : Architecture and fine arts from the beginnings of the Renaissance to the end of the Baroque. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes; Volume 2: From the Peasants' War in 1525 to the transition to the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1814. Theiss, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-8062-1477-8 , pp. 576–678 and 942–952, here: p. 619.
  2. ^ Sybille Grübel: Timeline of the history of the city from 1814-2006. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes, Volume I-III / 2, Theiss, Stuttgart 2001-2007; III / 1–2: From the transition to Bavaria to the 21st century. Volume 2, 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1478-9 , pp. 1225-1247; here: p. 1226.
  3. Ulrich Wagner: The conquest of Würzburg in April 1945. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes, Volume I-III / 2 (I: From the beginnings to the outbreak of the Peasant War. 2001, ISBN 3-8062-1465-4 ; II: From the Peasant War 1525 to the transition to the Kingdom of Bavaria 1814. 2004, ISBN 3 -8062-1477-8 ; III / 1–2: From the transition to Bavaria to the 21st century. 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1478-9 ), Theiss, Stuttgart 2001–2007, Volume III (2007), Pp. 294-314 and 1290-1292; here: p. 301 f.
  4. Norbert Vollmann: When the Käppele should die. In: Mainpost of April 4, 2015.
  5. Wolfgang Weiss : The Catholic Church in the 19th Century. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes, Volume I-III / 2, Theiss, Stuttgart 2001-2007; III / 1–2: From the transition to Bavaria to the 21st century. 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1478-9 , pp. 430-449 and 1303, here: pp. 434 f.
  6. Press release: Capuchins leave Käppele. Diocese of Würzburg , March 18, 2014, accessed on October 29, 2014 .
  7. Würzburger Käppele: Monks move out after 260 years. Br-online.de , October 20, 2014, archived from the original on March 21, 2014 ; Retrieved October 29, 2014 .
  8. a b History of the Käppele. Retrieved December 30, 2015 .
  9. Christoph Pitz: Käppele . on Mein-Wuerzburg.com (2015-2018), accessed on July 4, 2018.

Coordinates: 49 ° 47 '3.5 "  N , 9 ° 55' 18.8"  E