THE NIEDERBRAND CHAPEL
Recharge your batteries, enjoy the silence and find yourself
Whether it’s summer or winter, sometimes you just long for some peace and quiet and time for your own thoughts, without the distractions of stressful everyday life. In our small town we have just the right thing for days like this. This is a very special place, just above Viehhofen, the Niederbrandkapelle.
Behind the Viehhofen tennis court, away from the hustle and bustle, a romantic path leads to this place of power. On your way there, you hike on a forest road through forests and listen to the rustling of the leaves in the wind and the soothing chirping of birds. The hike to the chapel takes about 45 minutes and is filled with silence, on a path that not only gives strength during the annual pilgrimages in September. If you step out of the forest, the last few meters of the path are framed by old fruit trees and the chapel is enthroned majestically on its hill.
But the Niederbrandkapelle is not just a small gem in Viehhofen, but also tells a touching story from bygone times:
Many peasants were drafted into World War I to fulfill their duty in battle. Among them was Mathias Kendler, a farmer’s son from Niederbrand in Viehhofen. Mathias Kendler fought particularly bloody battles on the Eastern Front and his company suffered numerous casualties. In one of these terrible battles almost his entire company was killed. Only Mathias Kendler and a soldier from Zell am See survived the gruesome slaughter. The experiences of the war with all its losses and probably also the fear elicited a vow from him: “If I survive this, I will build a chapel for my fallen comrades.”
Mathias Kendler survived the great slaughter and returned to Viehhofen in 1918 with the intention of fulfilling his promise. Unfortunately, however, he did not manage to put his aspirations into practice, as he died of the Spanish flu on November 5, 1918 before he could start building the chapel. Years later, the widow, Gertraud Kendler, kept the promise made by her deceased husband and, with the help of the comradeship, began building the Niederbrandkapelle. The construction should take 2 years and the completion should take place in 1934.
Born out of a vow made during painful times, the church has been lovingly restored over the years by descendant Hubert Kendler with the support of local people and family. The shingle roof, for example, was donated by the Viehhofener Kameradschaftsbund and the church windows received colorful paintings from relatives.
Since then, the Niederbrandkapelle has stood majestically above Viehhofen and is accessible to everyone. She invites you to pause and think. This says Gertraud Kendler’s last will, the builder of this piece of jewellery. After your visit to the Niederbrandkapelle, sit down on a bench, take a deep breath of the fresh mountain air and fill your body with energy. Who knows, maybe Hubert, Mathias Kendler’s descendant, is out and about telling you personally how the Niederbrandkapelle was built.
The hiking trail to the chapel is accessible all year round. Only in very snowy winters can the path not be passed because it is not cleared by the winter service.
through the remote nature in summer and winter months
If you continue to follow the path behind the Niederbrand chapel, it will lead you to the Alpengasthof Stiegernigg. Let your body and soul be pampered there, with an impressive panorama towards Maishofen and the Schwalbenwand.
All those who want to do a circular hike are well advised to stop off, as this leads you directly into the valley and ends in the center of the village of Viehhofen.