The baroque Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers is one of the most famous pilgrimage churches in Upper Franconia. It lies directly on the St. James' Pilgrimage Way on the upper Main between Lichtenfels and Bad Staffelstein in a region known as "God's Garden". Built according to Balthasar Neumann's designs, the church is dedicated to the Fourteen Holy Helpers and attracts around 500,000 visitors a year.
Construction of the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers was completed in 1772. Considered an architectural marvel, even from the outside the building is an impressive sight. But it is the interior which is truly awe-inspiring. Embellished with gold, marble, pictures, sculptures, decorations and wall paintings, the work of Balthasar Neumann, stucco sculptor Johann Michael Feuchtmayr and painter Giuseppe Appiani defies descriptions and needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.
The free-standing rococo altar with its representations of the Fourteen Holy Helpers is surrounded by heart-shaped altar rails, where communicants receive Holy Communion. The lower part of the altar is decorated in stucco marble, while a magnificent vaulted canopy permits views of the high altar, where four Holy Helpers are set on each of the three levels, with a further two on the side altars.
From the 15th century until the present day pilgrims have journeyed to the basilica at the foot of Staffelberg hill, one of the country's best-known pilgrimage sites, to ask for the protection of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. It is claimed that in 1445 and 1446, the Christ Child appeared three times to a local shepherd called Hermann Leicht. A maid who was seriously ill was brought to the site of the appearance and was miraculously cured. Soon afterwards, the faithful began to arrive on pilgrimages.
Opening hours: Open daily in summer from 06.30 am - 06.30 pm,
in winter from 07.30 am - 05.30 pm.
Guided tours available on request.