It grew up around an important crossing of the Ems River, effectively controlling the trade routes to and from the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Today, however, it is known primarily as a pilgrimage town.
The Telgte Pilgrimage is an annual event, which has been taking place since 1852, and begins 47km (29 miles) away in Osnabrück. You can join the up to 8,000 per day who come annually, making this the second largest in Germany. Such is the draw of the town that it attracts more than 40,000 pilgrims throughout the year. So what will you find when you get there?
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Well, the main object of worship is a small statue of the Virgin Mary, that dates from 1370. You’ll find it housed in a purpose built chapel next to the main church of St Clements. The towering gothic church itself is worthy of your attention, and whilst here, you should also visit the impressive modern Nativity Museum.
Elsewhere in Telgte there is plenty to entice you. The Haus Peiper is a traditional 16th Century gabled house, preserved in its original style, and the Knick Berghaus will take you back to the time when it was the first school of the town.
Art also plays a big part here, and you will quickly notice the many sculptures around the town. Some are quite pleasing to view, but others deliberately make you a little uneasy and almost demand you question why they are there.
Find some time to visit the Heimathaus Museum, which displays the huge linen tapestry known as the Hungertuch. Dating from the 17th Century, you’ll be amazed at the detailed images of the Resurrection and the Old Testament. The town center is pretty much taken over by the trappings of the religious tourism, with every shop seemingly catering for the pilgrims.
In the area surrounding Telgte, though, you’ll find some wonderful countryside. The walks along the River Ems, and its tributary the River Bever, are tranquil and popular.
Find your way to the Langen Water Mill, a beautiful old building that was still in operation until the early 20th Century. It’s the subject of numerous paintings and drawings, and one of the most idyllic places in which to just sit and watch the world go by.