Pilatus house oberammergau

The Pilatushaus in Oberammergau is a real gem of traditional craftsmanship. Experience first-hand how art and culture come to life in this unique place.

The Pilatus House in Oberammergau: 18th century historical marvel and jewel of Lüftl painting

The Pilatus House in Oberammergau, which has its roots in the 18th century, attracts attention with its spectacular perspective frescoes by the renowned Lüftl painter Franz Seraph Zwink (1748 – 1792). It is probably the most famous house in Oberammergau decorated with Lüftl paintings and also serves as the seat of the municipal administration.

The Living Workshop: A look behind the scenes of arts and crafts

On the ground floor of Pilatus House, accessed through the Pilatus Garden, is the “Living Workshop”. Here visitors have the unique opportunity to watch artisans at work and learn more about their work in personal conversations.

Located in the heart of Oberammergau, Pilatushaus is considered a centre for arts and crafts. The house is adorned with numerous Lüftl paintings created by Oberammergau Lüftl painter Franz Seraph Zwinck in 1784, including the depiction of Jesus being condemned by Pilate on the garden side of the house. It is this scene to which the house owes its name.

Pilatushaus Oberammergau

Saving Pilatus House: a fight against demolition and for the preservation of cultural heritage

In 1981, Pilatushaus was threatened with demolition to make room for a car park. Thanks to the efforts of Annelies Buchwieser, her committed comrades-in-arms and the support of radio, television and the monument protection authorities, the house was saved.

The “Living Workshop” on the ground floor continues to offer open access for all visitors. Here they can watch the various artisans at work and learn about their work. Centuries ago, the “Kraxntrager” were already known for presenting their carvings, pottery, jumping jacks, reverse glass paintings and much more while travelling all over Europe. Admission to the “Living Workshop” is free and it is accessible at all times through the freely accessible garden.

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A unique insight into history: The guest book of Pilatus House

In Oberammergau’s municipal archives one can find fascinating stories about Pilatushaus from the 19th century, especially in the guest book of the house, which contains entries from the years 1870 to 1890. Probably the most significant entry dates from 21/22 August 1880, when the Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm visited the Bavarian troop manoeuvre at the Lechfeld camp and then travelled to the Passion Play in Oberammergau.

But it was not only the Prussian Crown Prince who left his mark in the guest book. Other important personalities such as Archduchess Stephanie of Austria, Duke Adolf Wilhelm of Nassau, George II, Duke of Saxe Meitingen, Prince Alfred of Great Britain and his daughters, the Princesses Marie, Victoria and Alexandra, as well as the French Marquis de Bassano also noted their visits. Even the Bavarian Minister of the Interior, Baron Max von Feillitzsch, stayed at Pilatushaus in July 1880.

The prominent quarters of Oberammergau in the 19th century

In the 19th century, three houses were repeatedly mentioned in which world-class personalities found accommodation: The Lang publishing house on Dorfplatz, Sebastian Zwink’s villa in Faistenmantlgasse and, of course, Pilatushaus. At that time, Pilatushaus was owned by Johann Lang, who was head of the municipality from 1866 to 1869 and mayor from 1876 until his death in 1900.

Johann Lang also contributed to the Passion story. From 1860 to 1890 he played Caiaphas, and in 1880, 1890 and 1900 he took on the role of play leader.

A piece of world history in the guest book of Pilatus House

One of the most remarkable entries in the Pilatus House guest book is the short but significant entry “War”, dated 25 June 1870. In July of that year, war broke out between Germany and France, leading to the interruption of the Passion Plays. They were resumed in 1871.

The municipality of Oberammergau was able to acquire this extremely valuable guest book at an auction in Munich for 320 marks at the time.

Pilatushaus: A commitment to Lüftl painting

The Pilatus House is probably the most famous house in Oberammergau decorated with Lüftl paintings. It owes its name to the impressive perspective frescoes by the Lüftl painter Franz Seraph Zwink (1748 – 1792).

The story of the Pilatus House and its moving rescue are a testament to the respect and admiration that the community of Oberammergau has for its cultural heritage and the art of the Lüftl painter Franz Seraph Zwink. It remains a living symbol of the connection between art, culture and history in Oberammergau.

lueftelmalerei oberammergau 1
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