What seems to be a small forest close to the Munich Olympic park is actually a small oasis of tranquility made possible almost entirely by a single person.
Timofei Wassiljewitsch Prochorow once transported coal on the railways when he was forced by German soldiers to use his wagon to smuggle them out, only to be released afterward.
It was at that point that Prochorow said he had his first vision of Mary. She told him to go to the west and build a church. He left his old life and family behind for this vision, traveling the lands to find the perfect place. He eventually settled down in Munich with his future wife Natascha.
It was there that Prochorow started building his church and apartment from nearby rubble. Once completed in 1952, the church was offered to both the Catholic and Orthodox churches as a place of worship.
However, both rejected the idea because they saw too many elements of the other church in its design. This eventually led him to start preaching himself. He and his wife also built a large garden around the church and apartment with varied flora. This garden was called the “Garden of Eden” by some.
The existence of the church was in danger when the city wanted to remove everything from the location to make room for the upcoming 1972 Olympics. However, it was eventually decided to leave the church alone after major backlash and protests from the local community.
The church was taken over by an association after Prochorow died at age 110 in 2004. His apartment was converted into a museum about his life and the church.
It was described as “Munich’s most charming black [sic. Illegal] building” by Munich’s Lord Mayor Christian Ude.
Update: Sadly this place is gone. It burned down completely in a fire in June 2023.