May 21 is a special day for Germans because it is Father´s Day (or Vatertag) and also a public holiday commemorating Ascention Day or Christi Himmelfahrt. We have long weekend ahead and the perfect weather gave us again the chance to explore nature and do our routinary “Wanderung“ and spaziergänge. During Corona times, we got used to go to the “greens” instead of wandering in the city. The control measures are more relaxed now here in Germany and since schools and playground were opened,it´s human nature that more and more people go outside, but still with restrictions. That is why we always choose secluded places like this.This time we decided to drive over the hilly landscapes of Hessental in the direction of Eichstätt. We get on early as usual to avoid the crowds and make most of the beautiful weather.
I have never been to Eichstätt so I don´t have any idea what this town offers.Throughout the trip I noticed once again the ample amount of bikers. There are so many motorcycle riders in these area same as in Riedenburg. Probably because of the nice winding road through this vicinity. I have heard that its a Universitätstadt, meaning a home to one prestigious Catholic University here in Bayern. The drive going to Hessental is actually quite smooth, no traffic and the hilly fields amuse us along the way. The Hessental lies in a gentle hollow on the slopes between Eichstätt and Landershofen in Bayern. Finally, we reached the Figurenfeld in time and great thing to know that there is an ample place to park. We saw a small pathwalk that leads us to a vast hilly field, and without any orientation, we just follow the sign of the first Sculpture that we saw and thats it. Just like what my daughter says ; just go with the flow and start an adventure! And so we did..
The place is really spacious, with every shades of green that you can imagine. It´s ideal to have picnics, and just a quiet walk during these times. If you love hiking, this path between Eichstätt and Landershofen is a great start to explore the beautiful nature in the surrounding areas of Altmühltal. The artist and sculpturer Alois Wünsche-Mitterecker, is a native from Eichstätt, created a captivating memorial against war and violence. I found these solid sculptures really worthwhile to visit and see because it depics the ugly truth of war.For many, it is the ugly version of Art and yet can be emotionally moving. I have watched so many movies about Holocaust and for a moment I´ve perceived one of the figures as a scary visualization of a Holocaust prisoners. There is so much tragedy, sadness and grief, and yet, it is also a depiction of the extent of evil of humanity can do.
I am fond of sculptures and I love researching about them. When I visit any new place, I always look for extraordinary sculptures or any piece of art that represent that place . I have learned that every great art or a statue tells a story. From the unforgettable Holocaust memorial in Berlin to the Trains to death, Trains to Life , the Figurenfeld is no exception.
In this large field, there are 78 larger-than-life sculptures that are unrecognizable from a far. I thought for a minute that they are dinosaur bones, or fossils since this place is the barren Jura landscape. Most of them looks like they crouch, rear up and crawl and on struggling state. Individual figures first point the way into the hollow, where the figures come together to form a bizarrely frozen battlefield. This makes me wonder how this place looks like in Winter. I have read that the Artist, Alois Wunsch-Mitterecker worked on these figures made of Portland cement, granite and basalt grains for over 20 years. He himself never saw the completion of the work, he died before it was finished.The figures were erected according to his plans only after his death (December 1975) in the years 1976-1979. Come to think that the field is still unfinished.
I guess the artist wanted to create a “Monumentum perpetuum”, a memorial to eternity, a warning of war, in which there are no winners and vanquished and he succesfully achieved that through this. The erection of the figures lasted from 1958 until the artist’s death in 1975.
I saw some children climbing and playing along the figures and it made me wonder how do parents explains to their children the meanings of the figures. I have read in the signs that it is prohibited to climb on it because there has been many damages already on some of the statues.My daughter loved dinosaurs so she thinks that they are dinosaurs, or rather looked like them. But them if you play a closer look, every figure is never the same. Every single one is really different and unique in its own shape.
Walking through the field is quite manageable but I think for elderly people, there are paths that are quite steep and would be challenging. The whole place is green, wild nature and full of overgrown heather grass, hedges and juniper bushes, which is full of hollows and hills, which contributes to the impression of a battlefield. I think that it can be scary at night because of lack of lighting but i think it is actually safe.But anyway, how would you appreciate the figures in the dark?
We explored the whole field in approximately an hour and then we decided to explore the rest of the inner city of Eichstätt.If you happened to be in the nearby vicinity, I highly recommend to check out this place. More information of other fascinating things to see and explore can be found here.
Have you done any walk lately?
See you next time in our next Spaziergang! Stay safe everyone.