Pfarrkirchen (or Parson Churches in English) is a town with only about 12,000 residents within Lower Bavaria that’s famous for two things.
One, a Pilgrimage Church (known as the Gartlbergkirche) that’s been a site for the devout since it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary when it was built in the 1660’s. The second, horse racing. Oh, I know, talk about two opposite ends of the spectrum!
Pfarrkirchen is the site of the oldest harness racing track in all of Germany. Harness racing is like the “Kentucky Derby” style of racing with the jockey on the horses back, it’s the type where they ride on little carts “harnessed” to the animal. There’s a huge race known as Trabrennbahn that takes place on the track every Whitsuntide (about 40 days or so after Easter).
Horse breeding’s big here, too. That’s why there’s a “black” stallion bronze statue known as Wimmer Roß right in the middle of the town square.
Which is where you’ll also find Pfarrkirchen’s Old City Hall. It’s the “Old” one because it was built back in the 1500’s and there’s no confusing it with the “New” one. Ironic, since the newer one is pretty old itself (1865).
One of the oldest places in all of Pfarrkirchen is the church of Sts. Simon and Judas Thaddäus. The old church from the early 14th century was originally designed in Romanesque style but when the Gothic style became popular afterwards, the church was “updated.”
Just as churches are filled with many works of art, so is the Hans-Reiffenstuel-Haus. Mr. Reiffenstuel was a local painter and after his death his widow donated more than 1,700 pieces of his work to the town.
I guess I was wrong. Pfarrkirchen is so much more famous than just two things; there’s a lot more to the town of “Parson Churches” than meets the eye.