Petersberger Bittweg

Bittweg – Procession Way to Mount Petersberg.

For centuries, the chapel on Mount Petersberg has been a place of pilgrimage, and so pilgrims headed for it on church holidays, praying all the way up. Hence the name “Petersberger Bittweg”.

Once there were four such procession ways, starting from different village around Mount Petersberg, but only the one from Königswinter has remained.

It begins at the end of Königswinter-city near the L331 country read, the street is named Petersberger Bittweg. The road turns into a hiking path and goes steeply up the hill, passing stone crucifixes from the 17th and 18th century all along the way. Twelve of the once 14 stations have remained. Many of them were made from latite, some older ones have a base made of trachyte.

Curious things occurred too. For example, Johanna Kinkel, the wife of the Oberkassel professor and 1848 revolutionary Gottfried Kinkel, reports of a procession with counter-procession, as we would perhaps say today. At that time the farmers asked for rain, the winegrowers at the same time for even more sun. They insulted each other and even became violent.

Today the Bittweg is mainly a hiking trail, and processions have become rather rare even in the Catholic Rhineland. It is hard to imagine how it was back then when people marched up the Bittweg to Mount Petersberg, praying and hoping that their prayers would be heart. The years the crucifixes were set up, engraved in the stone, correlate with years if war and plague in the Rhineland. Let us hope that many prayers were answered.

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