Kirchgaden Schleerieth, Foto: F.Trykowski Bildstock mit Freifigur an den Kirchgaden Schleerieth, Foto: A.Hub Bildstockzentrum Egenhausen, Foto: F.Trykowski Kreuzschlepper von 1730 in Zeuzleben, Foto: A.Jansen Prozessionsaltar in Essleben, Foto: A.Jansen, Gemeinde Werneck Foto: Bartlomiej Banaszak, Lizenz: Deutsche Bahn AG Bildstock Herrenmarter in Essleben, Foto: A.Jansen, Gemeinde Werneck Bildstock von 1536 in Zeuzleben, Foto: A.Jansen, Gemeinde Werneck Ausstellung im Bildstockzentrum Egenhausen, Foto: F.Trykowski Vierseitiger Bildstock aus Sandstein von 1571, Foto: F.Trykowski
Bycicle tour

Under the sign of the "Marterli" - from Eßleben to the Upper Werntal

All ages
Gardens and parks
Local traditions
Exhibitions
Interesting Facts
Culturally Important

Want to discover the Franconian way of life on a tour by train and bike? Then off to Eßleben! This cycle tour takes you right through the land of shrines, past around 80 wayside shrines.

Start
Eßleben
Duration
3 h
Distance
41 km
Key facts of the tour
Wayside crosses and wayside shrines bear witness to the piety of the people. For hundreds of years, these small religious monuments made of wood, stone and masonry have mostly been erected and maintained by the wayside, some decorated with flowers and candles.

In the Upper Werntal, these tokens of gratitude, reminders of misfortunes or simple impulses for prayer are particularly numerous. The region has over 600 of them. Wayside shrines from different eras and materials, with a wide variety of motifs and designs. This tour takes you right through the land of wayside shrines, past around 80 small monuments and draws your attention to a few outstanding examples of this Franconian way of life.
A cycle tour for nature lovers, explorers and culture vultures

Arrive relaxed and hire bikes from local hire companies. The capacity for taking bikes on the trains is limited and it is not possible to guarantee that you will be able to take your own bike with you, depending on capacity utilisation.

Start and end station

Start station
Bahnhof Eßleben
5 tour steps
41 km / 3 Stunden
End station
Bahnhof Eßleben

Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.

Schedule

Tour starts on Bahnhof Eßleben

Direction

DB bicycle service Eßleben station

There are 24 bicycle parking spaces in the immediate vicinity of the railway station.

Bahnhofstraße 30
97440
Werneck

Foto: Bartlomiej Banaszak, Lizenz: Deutsche Bahn AG

Direction

From Eßleben railway station, follow Bahnhofstraße, turn right at the main road and then left again into Kirchstraße.

Here in the centre of Eßleben you will come across the first four wayside shrines on your tour. The first is the Herrenmarter.

Herrenmarter Eßleben

With its height of almost five metres, the Herrenmarter cannot be overlooked. It consists of a wayside cross made of shell limestone with a sandstone base. The statue at the foot of the cross is made of coloured sandstone and depicts a seated Mary. According to the original inscription on the plinth, the reason for erecting the cross was "gratitude for saving the community of Eßleben from great wartime hardship".

Kirchstraße
97440
Werneck

Bildstock Herrenmarter in Essleben, Foto: A.Jansen, Gemeinde Werneck

Direction

A little tip before you set off: Look out for a processional altar with a rich Baroque design on the way.

At the end of Kirchstraße, turn right at the cemetery and immediately left again onto Mühlweg. A beautiful cycle path leads you along the Brummbach stream to Mühlhausen.

There you follow Grundmühlstraße until you reach St.-Martin-Straße, where you turn right. Continue past the sports field and out of the town. Here the cycle path meanders along the small river Wern to Zeuzleben.

Cycle past the Nepomuk monument, a free-standing wayside shrine from 1733, into the village. How many wayside shrines have you spotted on this first stage?

Wayside shrines with gable top Zeuzleben

Zeuzleben is home to more than half a dozen wayside shrines over a short distance. The two oldest wayside shrines in the entire region are located close to each other here. They can be recognised by their gable tops and are dated 1489 and 1536. Both were heavily reworked or replaced by a replica in 1963.

Bildstock von 1536 in Zeuzleben, Foto: A.Jansen, Gemeinde Werneck

Direction

Always keep your eyes open. You will continue to pass more than just wayside crosses, wayside shrines and processional altars. Along this route, you will see numerous houses in typical Franconian style, half-timbered houses and old farm gates made of regional sandstone. The churches in Zeuzleben and Schraudenbach, for example, were built according to plans by Balthasar Neumann, who completed the Baroque style.

From the market square, turn left onto Oberes Tor and then take the second right again. The route runs comfortably parallel to the Stängersgraben to Schraudenbach. About 200 metres after the church of St. Jakobus in Gambachstraße, turn right into Stettbacher Straße and then left into Kirschental in Stettbach. Now follow the Lachgraben to Vasbühl, from where you continue eastwards to Egenhausen to the Franconian wayside shrine centre in St. Johannes Straße.

Franconian wayside shrine centre

The Franconian Wayside Shrine Centre is dedicated to the diversity of forms and the varied stories surrounding the 600 or so wayside shrines in the region. Most of these small religious monuments were created during the Baroque period. The Enlightenment only temporarily interrupted this tradition in Catholic Franconia. Today, wayside shrines are considered landmarks of the Franconian landscape.

In order to protect and preserve their wayside shrines, ten municipalities with 45 villages joined forces a few years ago and founded the Franconian Wayside Shrine Centre in the old school in Egenhausen. A reference library has been set up in its information centre. There is a permanent exhibition on the subject of "Faith-Art-Culture" and an open-air installation on the "Technology of the wayside shrine" in the outdoor area. The basis for the processing, research and documentation of the existing wayside shrines is the wayside shrine database with hundreds of pictures and descriptions and a sorting according to locations, themes and the period of origin from the 15th to the present 21st century.

The Franconian Wayside Shrine Centre has also designed three circular cycle routes that open up the wealth of wayside shrines in the villages and meadows of the Upper Werntal to anyone interested.

St. Johannes-Straße 73
97440
Werneck/Egenhausen

Phone: 09722 2262
Email Address: bildstockzentrum@werneck.de
20.04. - 01.11.
Sunday: 02:00pm - 05:00pm
tour.contact.opening-times.easterSunday: 02:00pm - 05:00pm
tour.contact.opening-times.easterMonday: 02:00pm - 05:00pm
tour.contact.opening-times.ascensionDay: 02:00pm - 05:00pm
tour.contact.opening-times.whitSunday: 02:00pm - 05:00pm
tour.contact.opening-times.whitMonday: 02:00pm - 05:00pm
Ausstellung im Bildstockzentrum Egenhausen, Foto: F.Trykowski

Direction

Continue along Sankt-Johannes-Straße through Egenhausen, past the street "Am alten Brunnen", 180 metres later turn right into Brunnenstraße and cycle towards Schleerieth. After a good half kilometre, a path branches off the road at an acute angle. There is a wayside shrine on the right which is well worth a look.

Four-sided wayside shrine Egenhausen

At the fork in the road between Egenhausen and Schleerieth, a rather rare four-sided wayside shrine from 1571 commemorates its founder, Anton Geib. The square pillar bears the coat of arms of Prince-Bishop Friedrich von Wirsberg. The top shows reliefs in shallow niches with the crucifixion on the front and a vesper image on the back. The wedge arch finial is decorated with a stone cross crown on the front and volutes on the back.

Vierseitiger Bildstock aus Sandstein von 1571, Foto: F.Trykowski

Tour ends on Bahnhof Eßleben

Direction

You continue along Brunnenstraße to Schleerieth. In the centre of the village, it is worth stopping at the church gaden complex, which in early years was a place of refuge in the event of attacks and a safe place to store supplies. The lovingly restored arcades were one of the reasons why Schleerieth was voted the most beautiful village in the district in the 1990s.

At the end of Schlehenstraße, turn right and take a sharp left at the pilgrimage church in Eckartshausen onto Talstraße. This leads you to Rundelshausen and further along the Eschenbach stream to Ettleben. Here alone there are 10 small monuments, the most recent of which, dating from 1996, shows the risen Christ in Ettlebener Straße.

From Ettleben, the route continues a short distance along the Wern to Werneck. Don't miss the opportunity to take a look at the impressive Werneck Castle with its chapel and park in the style of an English garden. Turn left onto Balthasar Neumann Straße. The baroque summer residence is also known as the "little sister of the Würzburg Residence" and, like the latter, was designed and built by the architect and master builder Balthasar Neumann.

If your legs are tired, you can follow Würzburger Straße back to Eßleben from here. Or you can take a short detour and cycle along the Am Schlosspark road to Waigolshausen, where you can take another look around the dozen or so wayside shrines. The tour then ends for you at Waigolshausen railway station if you do not want to cycle along the Gassigbach and the B19 to your starting point in Eßleben and complete the circular route.

Tour map

Start/Ende

Bahnhof Eßleben

Bahnhofstraße 30

97440 Eßleben

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