A group visits the “Mariae Hilf” pilgrimage church in Grafenwoehr during a guided city tour. (Courtesy photo)


GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The city of Grafenwoehr offers guided city tours in both German and English for groups who are interested in learning more about the city and its more than 650 years of history.


There are two tours in German, the historic city tour and one around the military training area. The English tour is usually a combination of both of the tours, as there are currently only two English-speaking tour guides and most of the time, Germans are more interested in the training area part than Americans.


The historic city tour describes Grafenwoehr’s growth from a country town, almost a village, to an international small city. Starting at the town hall, groups will see hidden places of the city, including the old vicarage, the “Mariae Hilf” pilgrimage church located in the middle of woods, and the communal brewery. The tour lasts about 45 minutes.


The city also offers a historic city tour with re-enactments in cooperation with the Catholic Theatre Group Grafenwoehr, which lasts two hours. This tour is only available in German.


The military and international flair tour is focused on the Grafenwoehr Training Area and how the local population and the American community have been living together in a small city. The tour is off post only and stops at places that are associated with the training area, like the Kennedy Square and the former Mickey Bar (now a church), where Elvis Presley performed during his time in Grafenwoehr. The tour lasts about one hour.


Grafenwoehr first introduced guided city tours in 2018 after hiring a culture manager, Ms. Birgit Plößner, in 2017.


Being one of the tour guides, Plößner said, what she liked most about the tours was being able to surprise even people who lived in Grafenwoehr all their lives with “secrets” about the city. From engravings in the pavement, over which you drive every day, to the “Mariae Hilf” pilgrimage church, which you cannot see from the inside unless you join a guided city tour, there are plenty of things even locals do not know about.


Guided city tours fit up to 30 people and cost 45 euros per tour. The historic tour with re-enactments is 65 euros.


Tours can be booked at the local cultural management located at the Culture and Military Museum by calling 09641-8501.


There are no fixed or regular appointments for tours, except for special occasions like the Annamarket, Whitsun or the Day of the Open Heritage Site (Tag des offenen Denkmals).


Besides the guided city tours, there are eleven City Walks, which you can explore on your own. These walks include a Quiz Walk, after which you can send the answers to the city of Grafenwoehr and win a dinner voucher for a restaurant in Grafenwoehr.


Even though the City Walks include the routes for the guided city tours, those are not exactly the same routes that the tour guides take. On a guided tour, you can learn a lot more about the history, secrets and hidden places of Grafenwoehr.

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