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See The 2020 Passion Play As Part Of Your River Cruise

28th August 2018

2020 may still seem like it’s a long way away, but anticipation for the historic Passion Play is already very high. Taking place in the small, German town of Oberammergau, the performance only happens once every ten years and so now is the best time to book your river cruise if you want to experience this fantastic spectacle.

What Is The Passion Play?

Passion Play Theatre


The story of the Passion Play starts hundreds of years ago, in 1633, when the residents of the town of Oberammergau made a commitment to God to perform ‘The play of suffering, dying and revival of our Lord Jesus Christ’ every ten years if he granted them relief from their suffering.

The years previous had seen the region heavily devastated by the Thirty Years’ War and the Plague brought home by the returning soldiers. Every family was affected in one way or another and the villagers didn’t know what else to do. They turned to the heavens to make their promise and things started to improve. So, to honour their word, the people of Oberammergau still perform the play every ten years and have done so since 1634. It is the largest event in the town’s calendar and with every performance, the word spreads wider afield.

2020 will see the 42nd dramatic portrayal and close to half a million visitors are expected to attend over the four and a half month period from 16th May to 4th October. Only those who were born in Oberammergau or who have lived there for 20 years or more are allowed to take part and usually around 50% of the population gets involved in some form. Those hoping to play pivotal characters take part in a tradition which sees then stop cutting their hair and shaving their beards more than a year in advance.

How You Could Be There

Danube Autumn

If you would like the chance to take your seat in the custom-made theatre in 2020, there are plenty of ways you can do this as part of a river cruise. The location of Oberammergau (nestled within the Bavarian Alps) means that it isn’t accessible via the river, but there are many river cruise operators offering exciting excursions to this fantastic event.

This opportunity is part of a Danube river cruise, allowing you to stop off and enjoy the play either before you climb aboard your vessel or once you have finished sailing. Cruise lines such as Tauck, Viking River Cruises, Avalon Waterways and Emerald Waterways all have departures from ports such as Nuremberg, Vilshofen and Deggendorf to Budapest or the reverse. If sailing westbound, you will typically fly into Munich and then make your way to Oberammergau the next day. If you choose to sail westbound, you will watch the performance and then travel to Munich for your flight home the morning after.

Seeing the play as part of a river cruise offers fantastic value for money. Not only do you get your meals, accommodation and some excursions covered whilst on board the ship, these special sailings will also include tickets for the Passions Play, with a meal at the interval, and hotel accommodation in the area. And, it’s important not to forget, this will be part of a wonderful holiday that includes some of the best sights along the Danube.

If you would like more information about our Oberammergau Passion Play itineraries, call us on 0800 954 0064 or contact us through the website.

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