Trail of the Book

Ramingstein / Austria

Ramsau am Dachstein
  • Route

The „Trail of the Book“ is a project of the Protestant Church of Augsburg Confession. It starts in Ortenburg/Bavaria and leads on existing hiking trails from North to South to Arnoldstein on the Slovenian border. This means more then 500 km and it takes 29 days to make the whole route through different regions within the most beautiful landscapes of Austria.

On old smugglers paths pilgrims can experience the religiousness of the former Protestants and meet an unknown part of Austrian history. In the 17th and 18th century – during the time of the counter reformation and the secret Protestantism– the traders of cattle and trade goods such as salt, spicery or drapery brought the forbidden German-language bibles, song- and praybooks from markets in Regensburg and Nuremberg to their home country. They provided the protestants with these essential spiritual books and delivered them into the outlying places of their country. But the transport of the bibles was strictly forbidden, because all believers, even farmers, their wives or maidservants, had the chance to learn how to read in this way. The authorities however did not want the subjects to become matured. If the smugglers got caught, they faced imprisonment or displacement. So this was a hazardously undertaking.

On the route of the “Trail of the Book” you can still face the imposing historical locations and wonder at the places, where the former heretics hid the forbidden “Lutherbibeln”. Visiting the secret meeting places in the open, where the protestants celebrated their services, like the so called “Seekarkirche” or “Hundskirche” and caves like the “Kalmooshöhle”, you can still sense a mystic spirit.

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