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2022 Oberammergau Passion Play: Munich & Salzburg

Program No. 16882RJ
Celebrate more than 380 years of tradition as you attend Germany’s renowned Oberammergau Passion Play, an artistic reenactment that only happens once every 10 years.

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At a Glance

In 1634, with the bubonic plague ravaging Europe, the people of the Bavarian town of Oberammergau pleaded with God, promising that they would perform a Passion Play — an artistic reenactment of the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ — if they were spared from the plague. The number of deaths declined, and the Oberammergauers attributed this blessing to their bargain; ever since, the entire town has come together every 10 years to perform the elaborate play. Be a part of this centuries-old tradition in 2020.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Attend the Oberammergau Passion Play, a tradition in which more than 2,000 villagers work to perform the life of Jesus through spoken drama, musical accompaniment and tableaux vivants (“living pictures”).
  • Ride by funicular to the Hohensalzburg Fortress for a beautiful view across Salzburg's Old Town.
  • Admire the impressive Benediktbeuern Monastery founded in 739.

General Notes

Program cost excludes two lunches to enjoy on your own. While in the Oberammergau area, you will stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
Baroque and Rococo Art
by Germain Bazin
An excellent illustrated survey of Baroque and Rococo art and architecture, this volume in the acclaimed "World of Art" series is a good companion to the golden age of Middle Europe.
A Tramp Abroad
by Mark Twain, David Eggers (Introduction), Kerry Driscoll (Introduction)
Written 11 years after "Innocents Abroad," this is Twain's second foray into European travel. Filled with his characteristic wit and humorous observations, it documents his journeys through Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy.
The Blue Flower
by Penelope Fitzgerald
Set in the Age of Goethe, this exquisitely written short novel is a fictional account of the life of the Romantic poet Novalis. It paints a vivid picture of German intellectual and mercantile life in the late 1700s.
Prost! The Story of German Beer
by Horst D. Dornbusch
The Munich-based aficionado weaves history and culture with the marvels and mysteries of German beer in this brief, authoritative guide.
Every Pilgrim's Guide to Oberammergau and its Passion Play
by Michael Counsell
This pocket travel guide by a retired Anglican priest includes information on Oberammergau and the Passion Play, performed five times a day, five days a week for five months every 10 years. With hymns and bible readings.
Stones from the River, A Novel
by Ursula Hegi
Rich in details of daily life in Germany in the first half of the 20th century, this ambitious novel illuminates the impact of Nazism and complicity of townsfolk through the eyes of Trudi Montag, librarian, storyteller and testimony to difference (she's a Zwerg or dwarf).
Munich Map
by Borch Maps
A handy, laminated map of Munich at a scale of 1:11,000.
Lonely Planet Austria
by Lonely Planet
A highly recommended introduction to Austrian history and culture, as well as a good overview of popular destinations including Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck and more.
Fodor's Munich's 25 Best
by Fodor's
This slim guide to Munich includes a separate map of the center of the city and a 128-page pocket book with essential information on its highlights, including restaurant recommendations and sightseeing.
The German Way
by Hyde Flippo
A slim volume on the German-speaking world's cultural psyche, this is a great resource for anyone seeking insight into why the Germans do what they do.
The Story of the Trapp Family Singers
by Maria von Trapp
The true story of the von Trapp family singers, as remembered by Maria von Trapp herself. Maria was indeed a novice nun, but there ends her resemblance to the Julie Andrews character in the Sound of Music.
German History in Modern Times: Four Lives of the Nation
by William W. Hagen
This history of German-speaking central Europe offers a very wide perspective, emphasizing a succession of many-layered communal identities. It highlights the interplay of individual, society, culture and political power, contrasting German with Western patterns.
by Peter Gay
This concise, entertaining portrait delves into Mozart's complex relationship with his father, his daunting role as a child prodigy and his exploration of new musical territory.
The Habsburgs, Embodying Empire
by Andrew Wheatcroft
The Habsburgs ruled over more diverse peoples and cultures than any other European dynasty since the Roman period. With skillful scholarship and engaging style, Wheatcroft reveals the history of this family of eccentric monarchs.
Oberammergau, The Troubling Story of the World's Most Famous Passion Play
by James Shapiro
A cultural history of Oberammergau and the monumental influence its Passion Play has had on its development.
The Swan King: Ludwig II of Bavaria
by Christopher McIntosh
Ludwig II, the so-called Mad King of Bavaria, was one of the most enigmatic figures of the 19th century. He has gone down in history for his patronage to Richard Wagner, and for the palaces he created.
The Burgermeister's Daughter, Scandal in a Sixteenth-Century German Town
by Steven Ozment
Meticulously researched and absorbing, this narrative by a Harvard historian traces the legal battle of the daughter of a well-to-do family who was thrown out of her home and disinherited in 1525.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.