Heilige Stiege auf dem Kreuzberg in Bonn, © Michael Sondermann

Holy steps

Pil­grim­age sites on the Kreuzberg hill in Bonn

The Hei­lige Stiege (holy steps) on the Kreuzberg hill in Bonn are not only a pil­grim­age site, but also a late Baroque work of art. In all its finery, they are a re­mind­er of the Pas­sion of Christ

The Hei­lige Stiege, or holy steps, on the Kreuzberg hill in Bonn are an ex­tens­ive late Baroque work of ar­chi­tec­ture, sculp­ture and paint­ing. The mod­el for the Hei­lige Stiege is thought to be the ?Scala Sanc­ta? in Rome, the stairs brought by the holy Helena from Jer­u­s­alem to Rome in 326, and over which Je­sus is said to have walked to his Ro­man judge Pon­ti­us Pi­l­ate.

On the Scala Sanc­ta, pil­grims re­flect on the Pas­sion of Christ, kneel­ing and pray­ing as they as­cend the 28 steps. Dur­ing the Baroque peri­od, holy steps were par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar in Bav­aria, while in the Rhine­land re­gion, the Hei­lige Stiege are the only stairs of their kind.

Built in 1751

The stairs in the Bonn dis­trict of En­denich were built in 1751 by Baroque mas­ter build­er Balthas­ar Neu­mann on or­ders from the Arch­bish­op of Co­logne and prince-elect­or Clem­ens Au­gust, and lead to the choir of the pil­grim­age church on the Kreuzberg hill, which was built in 1627/28. Dur­ing this time, the pil­grim­age church was giv­en its sump­tu­ous Baroque façade and in­teri­or.

The two-storey façade of the Hei­lige Stiege is in­ten­ded to show the house of Pon­ti­us Pi­l­ate, the Ro­man per­se­cutor of Chris­ti­ans. On the bal­cony above the en­trance, the fam­ous scene from the Bible is dis­played in which Pon­ti­us Pi­l­ate ap­pears be­fore the people with Je­sus.

Sump­tu­ously dec­or­ated

In­side the step struc­ture, a triple-run stair­case leads up to a Chapel of the Cross, whereby the middle stair run con­tains the ac­tu­al holy stairs. Small brass crosses on the marble steps mark the places where Christ?s blood dripped.

The walls and ceil­ings are dec­or­ated with rich Baroque paint­ings by Jo­han Adam Schöpf, and show fur­ther scenes from the Pas­sion of Christ.

www.baukunst-nrw.de | www.kreuzberg-bonn.de

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Heilige Stiege auf dem Kreuzberg in Bonn, © Michael Sondermann

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