Hystory and architecture

In the year 1743, the Abbot of Steingaden Hyazinth Gaßner gave Dominikus Zimmermann the commission to make a design for a pilgrimage church in the Wies. As early as 1740 the Abbot had discussed plans with Zimmermann to transform the Abbey Church in Steingaden. From 1727 to 1732, the Landsberg master builder of the Premonstratensian Abbey of Schussenried had created the Pilgrimage Church of Steinhausen as a real Rococo building. Unfortunately, Abbot Hyazinth was only able experience the beginning of the construction work - he died at the age of 52 on 28th March 1745. However his successor, Abbot Marian II Mayr, took over the plans and implemented his work. In the first year (1745), the building of the pilgrimage house was already 40 feet in height with a U-shaped ground plan, with the prelate’s building in the south and the pilgrimage hospitum in the north with a small court of honor open to the east.

The official laying of the foundation stone on behalf of the Bavarian Elector Max Joseph III took place retrospectively on the 10th July 1746. In order to achieve this belated legalization of the building, Abbot Marian II Mayr had assailed the elector, who, was however critical of the request as a whole. For this reason the Regent did not want to lay the foundation himself, but instead commissioned Provost Herkulan Kahn from Diessen with the task.

The eastern choir with its tower and sacristy was the next section of construction and was under the roof in the same year. In terms of interior design, the eastern choir is the architectural culmination of what was possible both creatively and technically. Up until that point, arcades could only be spanned by vaulted arches. However, Dominikus Zimmermann used pendulous arches between the round columns of the choir ambulatory, which was not possible with masonry, but only as a wooden connection. (A quote from the book, Dominikus Zimmermann– wie ihn kaum jemand kennt,  by Sixtus Lampl, Munich 1987, p. 400) “At first, only the priest's house and the sanctuary were built; within three years until 1749, the choir was "perfected with all possible ornamentation". On 31st August 1749, the miraculous image could be ceremonially transferred from the field chapel, after Abbot Marian had blessed the choir a week before.

Subsequently, construction of the nave began which was completed in 1754 and consecrated on September 1st. In 1756, the two side altars followed. In 1757, the organ was installed. In, and with this year, Dominikus Zimmermann signed a votive image to give thanks for the completion of the church. (Hugo Schnell, Die Wies, Munich 1979, p. 8)