Last Saturday (look how prompt I am! this post is not even a week old!) I took the afternoon to ride to a little village not too far away so I could find MORE CELTIC RING FORTS. (Or whatever I should be calling them — in German they are Viereckenschanze or Keltenschanze, referring to the fact that they are raised earthworks which are rectangular in shape and/or were made by Celts. See how that works?) Here is a link to the Wikipedia article, if you want to hazard Google Translate (or, I guess, if you read German).
You might remember that I visited one a couple of weeks ago when I explored the Roman roads — but that site had been excavated and studied, and was set up like a (modest) tourist or cultural site. This time I found one that was just out in the woods and has never, apparently, been closely studied. Then I came home and realized that there is a second enclosure in the same part of the woods, which I wasn’t aware of and so didn’t look for — AND there are also some remains of an old castle or fortified watchtower, further up in the woods. So I’ll definitely have to go back another time and find those, although it’s hard to locate them exactly on the map.
How did I know how to find this one, you might wonder? Well… I was thinking to myself, I’m done with work for the day, and I’d like to go somewhere… let’s just look at Google Maps and see if there’s a nearby village with a medieval church that I haven’t been to… oh here’s one… oh and there’s a Keltenschanze in the woods! Because a lot of them are marked on Google Maps! Which is the coolest thing ever! Even though, for some reason, it shows the one I found but not the one that is nearby.
First I visited the church, St Quirin.
Although it was renovated in the 60s, and I think the whole front part past the tower was constructed, the rest of the structure dates from the 1480s. An earlier version was burned in 1422 during the Bavarian War.
There are traces of Christian burial from the 7th century, during the Merovingian era. Then in the 8th century there was some kind of church built on the site, although (unlike at other churches in the area), there isn’t any evidence that it was a “private church” (founded and supported by a noble family). It might have been founded by 8th century monastics from Tegernsee (since St Quirin — a Roman martyr — has been associated as a patron of that Bavarian monastery since the 8th century), but there’s also no clear proof of that.
Anyhow, a church arose here out of the mists in the 8th century, and by 1010 century it did belong to a monastery: Polling. (Which we know because Henry II restored certain property to Polling after a previous duke, Arnulf, had appropriated that wealth to fund his attempts to fight off the Hungarian invasions.) By 1315, St Quirin was recognized in the registers of the Archbishop of Freising as the “mother church” of five nearby parishes: “Paesing, Aloch, duo Mentzing, Lamen.” That is, all five of the village/towns surrounding where I live: Pasing, Allach, Unter- and Obermenzing, and Laim. Cool, huh?
Their first recorded pastor was Conradus, in 1311.
From about 1486 on, Duke Sigismund (yes, our hermit-duke friend from Blutenburg) led the Salve-Regina-Foundation in a procession every Saturday.
All the fixtures are Baroque… here’s a side altar dedicated to the Holy Family.
And one to St Sylvester.
Some medieval wall paintings are uncovered… but the lighting was really unfortunate and this was the best I could get. I can’t quite tell what’s shown here. But I remember seeing the name Gregory on the left side, and I think on the right side must be Jerome, with his friendly lion curled up at his feet. Above, I think it’s the Annunciation, with Mary (as always) on the right and Gabriel entering from the left.
And on the north wall of the chancel, the Last Judgement.
And in the back, a late medieval altarpiece with St Ursula and her friends.
After I’d gotten my fill of the church, I walked through the village, where almost everything was closed (since it was Sunday). But I stopped at some pub/restaurant with Löwenbräu on the menu and went in and had “zwei Würst mit Hausbrot” and a half liter stein of König Ludwig dark (they didn’t have Löwenbräu, what is this false advertizing), which was nice but did not warm me up at all. Then I trekked onward.
I had to walk on a path alongside the road, past farmfields, and out to “Aubinger Lohe,” that is, this hilly semi-clear-cut logging woods area.
There were horsies!
And kids out practicing skiing!
Eventually I started up the hill… I’ll spare you all the details of me trying to find which paths to take, except to say that I ended up bypassing the one I should have taken…
Not at all done with these tree pictures yet…
After walking maybe 45 minutes, I found myself back at the road. I’d somehow walked around the place I wanted to find, because I thought it would be obvious from the road. I sort of expected a “cultural site” visitor’s setup, like the last one I went to.
But I still knew basically where it SHOULD be, so I just hiked up off the path and up the snowy hill and searched around in the woods, following deer tracks, until…
I found it.
Here you can see the outer wall a bit better. It’s just a little rise, three or four feet high, that goes on so straight that you know the forest didn’t make it. A human being did. Then as you follow it through the woods, it turns, and eventually makes a roughly rectangular enclosure.
It was so much more affecting to have to search for it and recognize it, instead of having it laid out before me with a plaque. It just sits there, out in the woods, the same piles of earth that other human beings built and lived within some 2000+ years ago. This site hasn’t even been excavated. In a place like this, you feel so close and so far from the people who lived and died here, who lived not in anonymity, but in secrecy. The only things we can know about them come from theories of material culture and generalizations which, however intriguing, don’t really let us know anything particular about the experience of these particular persons. It was amazing to stand there on the limits of memory and knowledge, knowing that more had gone on here than I could ever know or sense. In short, reader, I was awe-struck.
The wall was shorter at this site than at the first one I saw — because the other one has been maintained, to some extent — but the enclosure itself seemed bigger.
Eventually I had to leave, so I cut back through the woods and made my return journey much shorter.
On my way back down the road, I tried to take another shortcut on a path through the farm fields, instead of going back through the village streets. I think itwouldhave gotten me there faster, if not for the snow. But the fields were prettier.
And I found another of those ubiquitous Bavarian charms, a waycross. This one is, you can see, hand-carved and pretty new.
Some Bavarian farmer showing his colors.
You can see St Quirin peeking out over the fields. Once I got back to the S-Bahn station, I detoured again to the church, which was almost completely dark. Mass wasn’t for another hour, so I decided not to stay, but I just knelt in the last pew and contemplated eternity.
I love Europe!
Well, I haven’t posted about all my backlogged trips (Salzburg, Neuschwanstein, Schloss Grünwald), but I’m going to Salzburg again on Sunday, so I might do a combined post. And Neuschwanstein is such a common destination, I might only post a few pictures. Schloss Grünwald, and the several Munich churches I haven’t yet profiled (ha!), I know I’ll have to post sometime. But SOON I will have a TON of new stuff to post because I am going to VENICE. It will be COOL. Just wait and see.