Upper Swabian Baroque Route

Upper Swabian Baroque Route
The Barockstraße's trademark roadsign

The Upper Swabian Baroque Route (Oberschwäbische Barockstraße) is a touristic theme route through Upper Swabia, following the themes of "nature, culture, baroque". The route has a length of about 500 km (approximately 310 miles). It was established in 1966, being one of the first theme routes in Germany. There is an extension to the route into Switzerland and Austria around Lake Constance.

Its logo depicts a yellow putto on a green background, putti being typical of the Baroque Era.



After the end of the Thirty Years' War and its ravages in 1648, followed by the counter-reformation instigated by the Catholic Church, an explosion of building works took place in the region of Upper Swabia. Immigrants to depopulated areas within Upper Swabia contributed to an economic upturn, which made it possible even for the owners of the smallest villages to secure sufficient funds to restore, extend and enhance the already existing buildings in Baroque style. This included monasteries as well as secular buildings such as castles and commercial buildings.[1] The result of this is today called Upper Swabian Baroque. It lasted from ca. 1650 until the French Revolution.

The nobility, whose territories were mostly of a small or only modest size, converted its dwelling places to Baroque style, utilising existing structures. Some new buildings were erected by the nobility, the result of which, however, often did not come close to the quality and extent of those erected by the clergy. This was due to the nobility's lack of financial means.[2] The monasteries, on the other hand, did have larger funds at their disposal as their respective territories were considerably larger than those of secular lords which meant that they could employ more dependants for the constructions work under the rules of feudal obligations (socage). Also, the monks themselves were unpaid and some of the artistic works were carried out by monks themselves.[3]

The re-organization of Europe under Napoleon at the beginning of the 19th century (also known as German Mediatisation), however, meant that the Imperial Abbeys, the Free Imperial Cities and the territories ruled by Imperial Knights (Reichsritter) lost their independence and their income. Many buildings were converted into barracks, schools, psychiatric hospitals or even manufacturing sites.

Only in the 20th century, efforts have been made to save and restore these monuments of the past.


Some of the main attractions on the route are:

Examples of Upper Swabian Baroque


There are four routes of the Upper Swabian Baroque Route: the main route, the west route, the south route and the east route.

Main route

The main route is circular, starting and terminating at Ulm. It passes the following villages and cities:

West route

The West route starts at Riedlingen and terminates at Meersburg on Lake Constance. It passes the following villages and cities:

Riedlingen, Altheim, Heiligkreuztal, Ertingen, Herbertingen, Bad Saulgau, Sießen, Ostrach, Habsthal, Krauchenwies, Meßkirch, Kloster Wald, Pfullendorf, Heiligenberg-Betenbrunn, Weildorf, Salem Abbey, Überlingen, Birnau, Seefelden, Baitenhausen, Meersburg.

South route

The west route leads around Lake Constance. It starts at Kressbronn am Bodensee, passing through Austria and Switzerland before terminating at Meersburg. It passes the following villages and cities:

Kressbronn am Bodensee, Schleinsee, Wasserburg, Lindau, Bregenz, Bildstein, Dornbirn, Hohenems, Altstätten, Trogen, St. Gallen, Arbon, Romanshorn, Münsterlingen, Kreuzlingen, Konstanz, Mainau, Meersburg.

East route

The east route is the shortest route, starting at Rot an der Rot and terminating at Kißlegg, thereby partly extending into the Allgäu. It passes the following villages and cities:

Rot an der Rot, Berkheim, Bonlanden, Binnrot, Haslach, Tannheim, Buxheim (Swabia), Memmingen, Ottobeuren, Legau, Bad Grönenbach, Kronburg, Maria Steinbach, Legau, Frauenzell, Leutkirch im Allgäu, Rötsee, Kißlegg.

Artists and architects of Upper Swabian Baroque


  1. ^ Jan Koppmann, "Das Zeitalter des Barock", in M. Thierer (ed.), Lust auf Barock. Himmel trifft Erde in Oberschwaben, p. 11f.
  2. ^ Michael Barczyk, "Reiche Klöster, barocke Bauwut. Warum gerade Oberschwaben "Himmelreich des Barock"?", in M. Thierer (ed.), Lust auf Barock. Himmel trifft Erde in Oberschwaben, p. 102
  3. ^ Michael Barczyk, "Reiche Klöster, barocke Bauwut. Warum gerade Oberschwaben "Himmelreich des Barock"?", in M. Thierer (ed.), Lust auf Barock. Himmel trifft Erde in Oberschwaben, p. 103

Further reading

  • Barczyk, Michael; Schneider, Gerd (1989), Oberschwäbische Barockstrasse, Wangen im Allgäu: Gebietsgemeinschaft Allgäu-Bodensee-Oberschwaben 
  • Beck, Otto; Buck, Ingeborg (1997) (6th ed.), Regensburg: Schnell und Steiner, ISBN 3-7954-1124-6 
  • Cremers, Birgit (2001), Oberschwäbische Barockstrasse, Hohenwart: Galli, ISBN 3-931944-62-X 
  • Gebietsgemeinschaft Allgäu-Bodensee-Oberschwaben (1995), 30 Jahre oberschwäbische Barockstrasse, Bad Waldsee: Gebietsgemeinschaft Allgäu-Bodensee-Oberschwaben 
  • Kolb, Raimund (2006), Die Oberschwäbische Barockstraße. Stationen zum Paradies, Ostfildern: Thorbecke, ISBN 3-7995-0165-7 
  • Krins, Hubert; Feist, Joachim (2001), Barock in Süddeutschland, Stuttgart: Theiss, ISBN 3-8062-1420-4 
  • Deuchert, Norbert A. (2006), Kunst-Landschaft Oberschwaben (anlässlich der Ausstellung "Kunst-Landschaft Oberschwaben. Werke aus fünf Jahrhunderten", Museum Villa Rot, Burgrieden-Rot bei Ulm, 21. Mai bis 1. Oktober 2006), Lindenberg: Kunstverlag Fink, ISBN 3-8987-0306-1 
  • Schmid, Jochen (2004), Oberschwaben. Schwarzes Gold und barocke Kostbarkeiten, Meßkirch: Gmeiner, ISBN 3-89977-507-4 
  • Schreiner, Klaus (2003), Schwäbische Barockklöster. Glanz und Elend klösterlicher Gemeinschaften, Lindenberg: Kunstverlag Fink, ISBN 3-89870-114-X 
  • Spahr, Gebhard (1979), Oberschwäbische Barockstraße. Geschichte, Kultur, Kunst, 1: Ulm bis Tettnang (2nd ed.), Lindenberg: Kunstverlag Fink 
  • Spahr, Gebhard (1978), Oberschwäbische Barockstraße. Geschichte, Kultur, Kunst, 2: Wangen bis Ulm-Wiblingen, Lindenberg: Kunstverlag Fink 
  • Spahr, Gebhard (1980), Oberschwäbische Barockstraße. Geschichte, Kultur, Kunst, 3: Leutkirch, Ottobeuren, Tannheim, Lindenberg: Kunstverlag Fink 
  • Spahr, Gebhard (1980), Oberschwäbische Barockstraße. Geschichte, Kultur, Kunst, 4: Althausen bis Birnau, Lindenberg: Kunstverlag Fink 
  • Spahr, Gebhard (1982), Oberschwäbische Barockstraße. Geschichte, Kultur, Kunst, 5: Überlingen bis Reichenau, Lindenberg: Kunstverlag Fink, ISBN 3-5487-4545-8 
  • Schütz, Bernhard (2000), Die kirchliche Barockarchitektur in Bayern und Oberschwaben 1580 - 1780, München: Hirmer, ISBN 3-7774-8290-0 
  • Thierer, Manfred (2002), Lust auf Barock. Himmel trifft Erde in Oberschwaben, Lindenberg: Kunstverlag Fink, ISBN 3-8987-0030-5 
  • Walz, Rudolf (1997), Im Himmelreich des Barock. Wandern ohne Gepäck, Neckartenzlingen: Walz-Wanderferien-Verlag, ISBN 3-8865-0032-2 
  • Zerlacher, Oskar (1995), Die oberschwäbische Barockstrasse. Annäherungen an ein Himmelreich, Freiburg im Breisgau: Eulen-Verlag, ISBN 3-8910-2261-1 
  • Zähme, Volker (2000), Barock, Köln: DuMont, ISBN 3-7701-5259-X 

External links

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