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Want to know more about Germany?
Dip into our inspiring eBrochure and get your first impressions about the sheer diversity of Germany as a travel destination. The eBrochure is available in 32 languages.


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Pilgrimages, which are traditional journeys that express religious devotion or fulfil a holy command, are features of many religions. Undertaking a pilgrimage was a major phenomenon in the Middle Ages and still plays an important role in Christian life, as a testimony of faith. Churches, chapels, caves and holy images are common pilgrimage destinations. The pilgrimage tradition dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans who travelled long distances to worship at certain temples. Pilgrimages retain a social element and become shared experiences that bring together believers who might otherwise never have met. In medieval times, pilgrimages were dangerous ventures that entailed significant problems, such as the lack of safe routes and shortages of food and accommodation. They also frequently involved activities of dubious moral value. It was for these reasons that young women were not allowed to take part. From around the middle of the 13th century, pilgrimages - as an atonement for sins - were also imposed as penalties for crimes such as perjury, fornication, deception or even manslaughter, with sanctions added for the more serious offences.