Although it was often difficult for the farmers to eke out a living from the bare soil of the Bergisches Land, there was one repose from the everyday burden of surviving: after the Reformation in the 16th century, the Counts of Berg – as the local rulers – allowed free choice of religion.
The churches that invite you to visit in the two Bergisch districts are just as varied today. There are the small – but typically Bergisch – “Bonten Kerken”, whose brightly coloured ceiling and wall paintings are fascinating, while at the same time lend the church a certain simplicity. There is Altenberg Cathedral - the Bergisch cathedral surrounded by green countryside, which draws lots of visitors because of its architecture and famous windows, and the galleried basilica in Morsbach is an imposing structure with its high church tower. There are also ornate pilgrimage churches, little chapels and Ways of the Cross in the Catholic part of the Bergisches Land.