F: Until 1966, the Roman Catholic community in Niederstetten attended mass at the Baroque church of "Maria Immaculata".
M: The existence of this church can be traced back to a vow taken by Field Marshal Melchior von Hatzfeld. He swore to build a chapel in his family's palace if he survived the brutal upheaval of the Thirty Years' War. After the end of the war in 1648, he fulfilled his vow and built a chapel with a particularly beautiful stucco ceiling in the south wing of the palace.
F: The Reformation in the early 16th century had turned Niederstetten into a Protestant town. 200 years later, Prince Philipp von Hatzfeld, himself a Roman Catholic, re-established a Roman Catholic parish. Work to build a church next to the palace began in 1747. By then, the old palace chapel was too small. The palace church was completed in 1756.
M: Since the church is also privately owned, it’s unfortunately not open for viewing. But we have a photograph of the interior for you. Take a look at your screen!
F: It’s a little hall church with a pretty altar. One unusual feature is the private royal pew, where members of the noble family could attend mass.
M: Now, take a look at the portal. The door handle on the right-hand side shows the main scene from the Old Testament Book of Jonah. Jonah appears to be freeing himself from the belly of the whale in which he had to endure for three days before God heard his prayers, forgave him and saved him.
F: Take some time to enjoy the spectacular view of Niederstetten and surroundings before you move on to your next stop, where we’ll be showing you the Tithe Barn and the Rappenturm – or Black Horse Tower – at Lange Gasse 32.
M: As you make your way back down the hill, you’ll pass the former Roman Catholic school. It’s at the foot of the Schlossberg, on the left. The school was built in 1895, but had to be shut down during the National Socialist era. The authorities didn’t permit schools to be run by religious groups. There’s a memorial plaque on the building in memory of the school.
Fotos: © Trüpschuch