The Rosary Way from Puch to St. Jakob

Hiking tip for believers, families & hikers

by Barbara / 11. Mai 2023 / Excursions / Event
Rosenkranzweg Puch Station 1 © TVB Puch - Gerber

Via the Rosary Way to May devotions in the Loreto Chapel

In Puch we have eight signposted hiking trails, one of which is the Rosenkranzweg (Rosary Path), which is about 4 kilometres long and connects the parish church of Puch and the pilgrimage church of St. Jakob. In May, we in Salzburgerland traditionally celebrate May devotions and pray during prayer walks.

TIP: Prayer walk along the Rosary Way for May devotions - meeting point Saturday, 20 May at 6.00 pm at the first station of the Rosary Way. Followed by May devotions in the Loreto Chapel in St. Jakob at approx. 19.00 hrs.

In the following lines you will find more detailed information about the creation of the family-friendly hiking trail "The Rosary Trail", insights into a May devotion, as well as interesting information about the two parish churches in Puch and St. Jakob am Thurn with their sights. But let's start with, ...

Bittgang am Rosenkranzweg © TVB Puch - Gerber

What is a May Devotion?

May devotions are a traditional form of devotion held in the month of May, especially in the Catholic faith. They focus on the veneration of the Virgin Mary and Mother of God. The devotions usually take the form of services or prayers and often include special prayers, songs and meditations. Typically, May devotions take place outdoors, as well as here in Puch on the Schönalm, at Puchstein Castle or at the Kalchgrub-Materl. The faithful meet on selected May evenings at wayside shrines, chapels or wayside crosses, but also in churches, to pray together and sing Marian songs.

Tip: current May devotions can be found in the order of service of the  Parish of Puch and the Parish of St. Jakob

Schönalm © TVB Puch

"May devotions have a long tradition in the month of May. They have developed from prayers in the fields, with which people prayed in spring for blessings for the coming harvest. Prayer to Mary, the Mother of God, is therefore an obvious choice, as she knows the worries and needs of the people from her own experience. Contemplative texts, common prayer and the singing of Marian songs in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and in praise of God strengthen faith and community," Elke Ellinger, head of the parish council of St. Jakob, explained to me.

Marian songs in honour of the Mother of God

To sing along, texts are often handed out or the songbook "Gotteslob" is used in churches. One of my favourite Marian hymns is „Segne du, Maria ... segne mich Dein Kind“ ("Bless you, Mary ... bless me your child"). The Roman Catholic Marian hymn goes back to a poem by Cordula Wöhler, who wrote it in 1870 as a Protestant pastor's daughter during her conversion from the Protestant to the Catholic faith. Later in 1916, the song was set to music by Karl Kindsmüller.

Gotteslob in der Pfarre Puch © TVB Puch

"Bless you, Mary" is very well known not only in Austria but also in other German-speaking countries and is often sung in different variations and versions. It is a timeless song that beautifully expresses the love and veneration of the faithful for Our Lady. In the current prayer and hymn book Gotteslob (2013) you will find "Bless you, Mary" in the root section under hymn number 535. This was not always the case. In the 1975 edition, the popular and probably most popular Marian hymn was only found in the diocesan appendices of Fulda, Linz, Regensburg, Salzburg, Vienna and Würzburg. Here is a sample of „Segne du Maria.

The Rosary Way from Puch to St. Jakob am Thurn

The Rosary Way in Puch near Hallein is a spiritual pilgrimage path with a total of five granite stations of the "5 Mysteries of the Joyful Rosary" and connects the parish church of Puch with the Loreto Chapel in the pilgrimage church of St. Jakob. The path is not only a place of contemplation and reflection for believers who want to concentrate on the contemplation of the rosary, but also a pleasant hiking trail for young and old.

Marienbild - Rosenkranzweg Puch © TVB Puch

Family hike from Puch to St. Jakob

Due to the simply laid out hiking trail and the secluded passages with bridges, flowing streams and the forest itself, the Rosenkranzweg also invites you to discover, feel and play, making it a little paradise for families with children of all ages. On the Rosenkranzweg, you can expect 2 short ascents, fantastic views and cosy resting benches along the way.

Please note: Due to the smaller forest paths and the short steep sections, the trail is not suitable for prams.

For a hike along the Rosenkranzweg, I recommend bringing a water bottle and wearing comfortable shoes and weatherproof clothing, as the path has a few steep sections and uneven patches. You should also plan enough time to enjoy the fresh forest air, to visit the individual stations and churches at your leisure and, if you wish, to pause for a moment and pray.

Hiking in every season

The path is accessible all year round, but I recommend a visit in spring, when everything is in bloom and nature is in full bloom, and in autumn, when the sun shines on the colourful autumn leaves. On hot summer days, it can be exhausting to walk the path due to the high temperatures, and in winter, the path is not cleared when it snows.

Rosenkranzweg Puch im Herbst © TVB Puch

Exact directions from the Way of the Rosary

Every year, the Way of Prayer starts directly at the first station at the beginning of the Sillergutweg, on the left shortly after the turn-off from the Vollererhofstraße. Last time we prayed for about 45 minutes until the May devotion in St. Jakob. The Rosary Way is described in detail in the tour map from the Puch parish church to the pilgrimage church of St. Jakob.

Note: Between the last station of the Rosenkranzweg and the pilgrimage church, you will find the new panorama map with an overview of all Puch hiking trails and cycle routes at the public car park near the Vereinhaus, opposite the "Der Schützenwirt" inn.

Panoramakarte Puch in St. Jakob am Thurn

TIP: Tennengau Hiking Passport

Pick up your free Tennengauer Hiking Pass at the tourist office and collect your stamps along the hiking trails in the Tennengau! In Puch you can collect a total of 44 points on 8 tours and thus secure the first Tennengau Hiking Pin (at € 3.50 - children up to 14 years free) in BRONZE. An overview of all points and pins can be found in the Tennengau Hiking Pass and the route descriptions of the tours in our free hiking map and in the interactive Tennengau Tour Map.

Wanderpass Rosenkranzweg Puch © TVB Puch

How it all began - from the Way of the Rosary to the Prayer Walk!

How did one get the idea to stage a Rosary Way? During Advent, the parish churches in Puch and St. Jakob have solemn early morning Rorats. Afterwards, churchgoers often have the opportunity to have breakfast in the parish courtyard and start the day in a convivial atmosphere. And it was precisely in such a cosy circle that the idea for the Rosary Way from Puch to St. Jakob was born.

Shortly afterwards, Vroni Schönauer, then chairwoman of the parish of St. Jakob, organised the five stations together with Mrs. Inge Rosenberger, collected money and looked for supporters, clarified the path with the landowners and had the pictures of the Rosary Way painted. The motifs painted on sheet metal by Elisabeth Traxl from the Mühlviertel have the birth and childhood of Jesus as their theme. And exactly these paintings were even consecrated by Mrs. Rosenberger during a trip to Lourdes (Southwest France). By chance, this consecration of the panels in the grotto of Lourdes took place on 11.2.2006 - a special date. For it was also on 11.2.1885 that Mary appeared to Bernadette of Lourdes for the first time.

Rosenkranzweg Station 5 © tVB Puch - Gerber

The Rosary Way was then solemnly inaugurated on 13 May 2006 by Prelate Dr. Alois Weidlinger and Father Gidi Außerhofer.

Worth seeing: The Rosary Way from Puch to St. Jakob

On a hike from Puch to St. Jakob you can not only enjoy the view, but also visit the sights of the two parish churches in Puch and St. Jakob am Thurn:

The Puch Parish Church - the starting point of the Rosary Trail

The Gothic parish church in Puch with its distinctive Spitzhelm tower is an integral part of the townscape. The Roman Catholic parish church, consecrated on the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, was first mentioned in a document in 1347 and is a listed building.

Puch bei Hallein - Pfarrkirche © TVB Puch - Kuscheiart

Baroque, Gothic & Contemporary Art

The church contains many valuable works of art, including a high altar from 1685 dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, as well as numerous paintings and sculptures. 11 years ago, the chancel was redesigned in a contemporary style by sculptor Wilhelm Scheruebl. The popular altar, the ambo (reading desk) and the baptismal font were newly constructed from fir wood and Untersberg marble. The wooden elements as the foundation show a play of geometric shapes. The marble slab on top of the altar weighs around 1,000 kg. And the impressive thing about it - works of art from seven centuries can now be seen in the parish church.

Altar Pfarrkirche Puch - Foto: TVB Puch

The Roman Milestone

At the stairway to the cemetery of the parish church of Puch you will see the "war memorial", inaugurated in 1951, on the left and the Roman milestone in the cemetery wall on the right. This historical stone made of marble from Untersberg marks the 7th mile of the important Roman trade route between Juvavum - Teurnia - i.e. today's Salzburg to Carinthia and was erected by Emperor Septimus Severum around the year 200 AD.

Pfarrkirche Puch © TVB Puch - Gerber

The stone was built into the north-eastern section of the wall and later lost for decades. In 1933, the milestone was rediscovered during a water pipe excavation. Since the stone made of Untersberg marble is unfortunately not (any longer) inscribed, it cannot be directly assigned. It merely reminds us that the municipal area of Puch was connected to the Roman road network, which was at least 80,000 kilometres long.

Römischer Meilenstein © TVB Puch - Gerber

The Pucher Palmesel in the bell house

Once a year, the wooden Pucher Palmesel with Christ figure leaves its place in the bell house of the Puch parish church to be carried through the village by four boys of the local traditional costume society D`Puachstoana during the Palm Sunday procession. The story of the 17th century Pucher Palmesel can be found in the PUCH MAGAZINE article "Easter: the Pucher Palmesel & Holy Week".

Pucher Palmesel © TVB Puch - Gerber

The pilgrimage church of St. James the Elder - the destination of the Rosary Trail

The small parish church in St. Jakob am Thurn was first mentioned in a document in 1238 and is dedicated to St. Jakobus the Elder, one of Jesus' most trusted disciples. The interior of the church is particularly impressive and houses many valuable works of art. These include a marble baptismal font from 1735 and the St. James carrying figure from 1738, which is carried in the procession by the historic St. James riflemen every year at Corpus Christi and at the festive mass on St. James' Day. The high altar and the numerous frescoes and sculptures are also absolutely worth seeing.

The Chapel of Grace of Maria Loreto

To the left and right of the main altar are two passages closed by iron lattice doors to the Loreto Chapel, which was added to the east of the church. From the outside, the entrance to the chapel is next to the sacristy, the so-called storage room of the parish church, where the parish priest and the altar boys also change their clothes.

Loretokapelle St. Jakob - Foto: TVB Puch

In 1754, the Maria Loreto Chapel of Grace was founded on the basis of a vow by Josef Anton Count Plaz. After his death in 1767, his heart was buried on the steps of the altar, where the inscription "Here rests the heart of a sinner" can be read on the stone. The chapel is without windows and has a raw brick decoration and a star-shaped barrel vault. It is modelled on the Loreto Chapel in Italy. Behind the rococo lattice from 1754 is a magnificently designed altar. It is reported that the Black Madonna came into contact with the statue of grace in the Basilica della Santa Casa in Loreto.

St. Jakob am Thurn im Herbst - Foto: TVB Puch - Kuscheiart

Around the pilgrimage church of St. Jakob

In addition to the interiors of the pilgrimage church and the Loreto Chapel, the church square and the cemetery are also worth seeing. "At the atmospheric cemetery stands a modern wooden crucifix by Bernd Rosian. On the church square north of the church, the "Kaiser lime tree" planted in 1908, the baroque statue of St. Nepomuk (by Joseph Anton Pfaffinger, 1744) and the vicarage form a contemplative ensemble". This is how it is described in the brochure about the parish and pilgrimage church of St. Jakob (source: "Christian Art Sites of Austria, No. 565, 2014 by Verlag St. Peter in Salzburg), which is available in the church at the entrance.

Wallfahrtskirche St. Jakob am Thurn - Foto: TVB Puch

Tip: Also hike around the pond in St. Jakob am Thurn and enjoy the idyllic view of the pilgrimage church and the castle tower from the opposite side.

Off to the Rosary Way in Puch

Set out on the path and explore the stations of the Rosary Way as well as the two enchanting parish churches with their fascinating stories. During your hike you will also be able to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Untersberg and the wonderful nature here in Puch. Don't forget to share your experiences with us and tag @visitpuch when you post your photos on Instagram.

Rosenkranzweg Puch 1. Station - Foto: TVB Puch

For detailed information about the municipality of Puch bei Hallein and its two parish churches, I recommend the local chronicle "Puch bei Hallein - Geschichte und Gegenwart einer Salzburger Gemeinde" by Gerhard Ammerer. Available at the Puch parish office and in the library. You can find even more information about the pilgrimage church of St. Jakob in the "Chronicle of a Village - St. Jakob am Thurn" by Susi Kermauer. The second edition from 2012 was completed by Robert Patzner, Martin Flatz and Elke Ellinger. The book is available at the municipality of Puch and at the Ellinger general shop in St. Jakob.

Put on your walking shoes and go!

Do you know the Rosenkranzweg in Puch or one of the other signposted hiking trails in our area? Write to us in the comments about your experiences and get the free panorama map with all the Puch hiking trails and cycle routes at the information booth next to the municipal office, which is open for you daily from 8.00-20.00 hrs.

Hier geht`s zum Rosenkranzweg in Puch:

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