Alright, it wasn't so much a "pilgrimage" as it was a "look-see" because we had heard that the Abbey was something to see. Plus, it was only a 30 minute drive. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon with no other plans!
Einsiedeln is the most important pilgrimage site in Switzerland. Although certainly not at the level it was during the medieval period, it still receives approximately 200,000 pilgrims per year.
When we arrived the area around the abbey was packed. Turns out this is also the time when Einsiedeln produces the Einsiedler Welttheater (Theater of the World), a production that occurs every five years. Which makes it a major pilgrimage time.
Photography is not allowed within the sanctuary, but I did manage to sneak this picture without any of the monks catching me. Accomplished by hiding behind GLH and quickly shooting over his shoulder.
The abbey is also known for its stables. The priests and monks have been breeding horses since medieval times. Unfortunately, the stables are not open on Sundays.
After leaving the Abbey we followed a sign pointing towards the Bethlehem Diorama, the largest nativity scene in the world. Or so the sign said. And at more than 800 individual pieces, it certainly was big. But not terribly spectacular.
After leaving the Diorama, we followed another sign to the Panorama Kreuzigung Christi (Panorama of Christ's Crucifixion).
Although I must admit it was a tad creepy to be completely surrounded by this enormous canvas. And it smelled kinda funky too!
My recommendation is to go to the Abbey, but skip the Diorama and Panorama!