The building history of the Holy Chapel


The Holy Chapel of Altötting is one of the most venerable and well-known church buildings of Bavaria. There are many sagas and legends about its construction, but only few dates and facts that can testify its origins. Historical research is yet today not able to make a valid statement concerning the age and original purpose of the Holy Chapel. Several reasons speak for an old age and a special meaning of the building: For one, the great worship in early times, further the „Scots Legend“ of Regensburg, which indicates ancient origins of the octagon. Furthermore, the city seal of the neighbouring city Neuötting (from the 13th Century) shows the octagon of the Holy Chapel.

The shape of the Holy Chapel is unique and known far beyond Bavaria:

The octagon, the long house with the tower adjoining to the west, the corridor interrupted by arcades that surround the entire building, and the green patina copper roof. The long house was probably built during the first years of the 16th Century. It is assumed that the outer arcade corridor of the chapel was built at the same time as the long house. Therefore, the look of the Chapel the beginning of the 16th Century is similar to that of today. Elector Ferdinand Maria (1651-1679) ordered his court builder Enrico Zuccali to cover the octagon with a dome. Due to a lack of money, the work was stopped shortly after they started building. Thus, the Holy Chapel maintained is unique appearance.