Johann Georg von Hafenbrädl (1726-1786) had already attempted to construct a chapel on the Arber in 1769. But it wasn’t until 37 years later, in the summer of 1806, that the first wooden chapel was built on the summit of the Großer Arber. Winters on the Arber took their toll on the chapel to the extent that the small building has had to be rebuilt four times over the course of 150 years.
The Arber chapel below the summit
However, the last chapel was built using quarry stone and covered by a somewhat unattractive tiled protective roof around the year 1880, as it had become too small for the rush of people making the pilgrimage from Bavaria and Bohemia to see the picture of the Virgin Mary. This protective roof was torn off in an autumn storm.
It took until 1957 for another chapel to finally be constructed on the Arber summit. It was a donation from the owner of the Arber, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Hohenzollern (1924 – 2010), which was dedicated to Mary on 25 August 1957. A Madonna carved from limestone, a gift from Princess Margarita of Hohenzollern (1932- 1996), stands on the small altar table inside the chapel.
The 150 year old tradition of the Arber parish fair was revived in 1965. Since then it has taken place every year on the penultimate Sunday in August.
In 2015, after 58 years, the chapel was completely renovated by ARBER-BERGBAHN and a bell from the evangelical church in Bayerisch Eisenstein was fitted in a small bell tower. This chapel, which is covered with shingles, has a canopy roof to also provide weather protection for church services and prayers.
The Arber bell hung in the evangelical “Haus der Begegnung” (House of Meeting) in Bayerisch Eisenstein from 1975 to 2015. Following the closure of this place of worship, it has found a new dignified home in the Arber chapel on the Arber summit. The bell has the following inscription: “I am with you, says the Lord, to help you and save you.” May the newly renovated Arber chapel and the new bell also be a sign of the ecumenical solidarity of all Christians.