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|Bundesland: Freistaat Bayern||Bavaria|
Altötting is situated at an elevation of 403 m in the valley of the river Inn in Eastern Bavaria. It is probably the most important pilgrimage site in Germany, certainly in Bavaria. The place was first mentioned in a document in AD 748 as Autingas, Latin for ötting. The distinction of Altötting and Neuötting originated in the 13th century when Neuötting developed as a trading place closer to the river Inn. Already in the 8th century Altötting it was the seat of the Bavarian Dukes of the Agilolfing family. Their residence at (Alt)ötting was second in importance to that of Regensburg. When Emperor Charlemagne deprived the last Agilolfing Duke Tassilo III of his power, ötting became a Karolingian residence in AD 788 Charlemagne's great-grandson, King Karlmann, permanently moved his residence from Regensburg to ötting and founded the first canons' monastery. With the death of Karlmann's grandson, King Ludwig IV 'das Kind' ('the Child', 893–911), the German line of the Karolingian dynasty came to an end. ötting was devastated by the Hungarians in 907. Only 300 years later the monastery is rebuilt by Duke Ludwig I of Bavaria ("der Kelheimer") of the Wittelsbach family. The history as a pilgrimage site started in 1489 following two reports of miraculous healings. The importance of Altötting for the Duchy of Bavaria is illustrated by a letter of devotion written by Elector Maximilian I (1598–1654) in the times of the Thirty Years' War using his own blood. In 1681 Emperor Leopold I (1640–1705) and Elector Max Emanuel of Bavaria (1662–1726) signed a contract, the so-called 'Altöttinger Allianz', which only two years later became important for the defence of Vienna against the Turks. The hearts of almost all dukes, electors and kings of Bavaria up to King Ludwig III of Bavaria (1845–1921) were buried in the Lady chapel of Altötting. With the closure of the canons' monastery in 1803 Altötting became an independent municipality. It obtained the status of a market town in 1845 and that of a town in 1898 Each year, more than one million visitors come to see the pilgrimage site.
The centre of the town is the Kapellplatz (Chapel Square).
The centre of the square is marked by the
Lady chapel [left, no. 3068: top picture].
The core of the building, the 'Octogon', dates from around AD 700 and
is one of the oldest existing churches in Germany. Its octogonal shape indicates
that its original purpose was that of a baptistry. According to the legend,
the first Christian Duke of Bavaria was christened in this chapel by St. Rupert,
the first bishop of Salzburg.
The monastery and parish church Sankt Philipp und Jakob [left, no. 2067: background right] was built between 1499 and 1511 and is the last Gothic 'hall church' in Germany. It is at least the third church in this location. It is unclear whether a church had already existed here at the time of the Agilolfing Dukes. However, it is certain that the first basilica was erected, together with the canons' monastery, by King Karlmann in 876. The old basilica was destroyed by the Hungarians in 907 and the second, Romanesque, basilica was erected only in 1228. Parts of this Romanesque church, especially the west façade, were included in the 15th century church that we see today.
The church Sankt Magdalena
[left, no. 2067: background left, behind the Lady chapel]
was built 1697–1700 in Baroque style by the Jesuits, which had come to Altötting in 1591
and stayed here until 1773. Today the church is in possession of the Capuchins.