[ Related page: Great Cathedrals of Germany ]
Steingaden, another small Bavarian Alpine village in the foothills of the Alps, just north of Garmisch, is noted principally for its 12th-century Kloster Steingaden, or Steingaden Abbey, and its glorious Wieskirche, or Wies Church, or Church in the Meadow, which sits in the middle of nowhere, but is nevertheless the definitive Rococo church in southern Bavaria, and now also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of the first, the abbey, it can be said that it was begun as a Romanesque endeavor, but refurbished in turns in Late Gothic, Early Baroque and Rococo styles, and now fronts on the cobbled Steingaden Marktplatz. The Wieskirche, for its part, is located just outside Steingaden, and boasts a fabulous interior with a huge oval cupola adorned with a Rococo painting of The Second Coming, and frescoes and gilded stuccos and marble balustrades and ancient statues besides. Actually, the Wieskirche, which was designed by 18th-century master Rococo architect and stucco artist Dominikus Zimmermann and painted on the interior by his brother John Baptist Zimmermann, is the main reason to visit Steingaden. The church draws upwards of a million visitors annually, and also hosts a series of summer concerts, several of which are offered to the public free of charge.
Steingaden is situated at an elevation of 2,500 feet (760 m), roughly 30 miles north of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, with the Wieskirche located on a small country lane just outside the village. Steingaden has a resident population of around 2,800.
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