Monasteries in Germany

Barth Abbey

Barth Abbey was originally a castle built around 1573 by Bogislaw XIII. After his departure, the castle was neglected, damaged in the various wars and was repaired only in a makeshift manner. In 1710/1711, it served as a court venue for the last time. After 1722, the Swedish King gave the ruins of the castle to the Swedish-Western Pomeranian knights as a present. From 1733 to 1741, the baroque building complex of the Aris ...
Founded: 1573 | Location: Barth, Germany

Comburg Abbey

Comburg was a Benedictine monastery founded in the late 1070s by the Counts of Comburg-Rothenburg on the site of their castle. The first monks were from Brauweiler Abbey, but in the 1080s an abbot from Hirsau Abbey was appointed, and this brought Comburg into the movement of the Hirsau Reforms. The monks of Comburg were exclusively of noble birth, and accordingly resisted the Benedictine reforms of the 15th century, unde ...
Founded: 1070s | Location: Comburg, Germany

Aura Abbey

Aura Abbey was a house of the Benedictine Order located at Aura an der Saale. Built on the site of an earlier castle, and dedicated to Saints Laurence and Gregory, it was founded by Bishop Otto of Bamberg between about 1108 and 1113; the foundation charter is dated 1122. The new foundation was settled by monks from Hirsau Abbey. The first abbot was Ekkehard of Aura, a monk from Bamberg, famous as the continuer of the Welt ...
Founded: 1108-1122 | Location: Aura an der Saale, Germany

Polling Abbey

According to legend, the founder of Polling Abbey was Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria in about 750, but it seems more likely that the founders were members of the powerful Bavarian noble family of the Huosi. Initially this was a Benedictine monastery, but later became a house of Augustinian canons. The abbey was dissolved during the secularization of 1803 and the buildings were mostly demolished between 1805 and 1807. The i ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Polling, Germany

Dobbertin Abbey

Dobbertin Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery of monks, afterwards housed a community of nuns, and later still a women"s collegiate foundation. The abbey was founded during the Christianisation of Germany in about 1220 by Prince Heinrich Borwin II of Mecklenburg and was the first field monastery in Mecklenburg. The founder gave it to the Benedictines for a community of monks. 15 years later it was turned into a B ...
Founded: 1220 | Location: Dobbertin, Germany

Salem Abbey

Salem Abbey was a very prominent Cistercian monastery founded in 1136 by Gunthram of Adelsreute (d. 1138) as a daughter house of Lützel Abbey in Alsace. Blessed Frowin of Bellevaux, formerly the travelling companion and interpreter of Bernard of Clairvaux, became the first abbot of Salem. The abbey soon became very prosperous. Extensive and magnificent buildings, erected in three squares, and a splendid church were ...
Founded: 1136 | Location: Salem, Germany

Rot an der Rot Abbey

Rot an der Rot Abbey was the first Premonstratensian monastery in Swabia. The imposing structure of the former monastery is situated on a hill between the valleys of the rivers Rot and Haslach. The monastery church, dedicated to St Verena, and the convent buildings are an important part of the Upper Swabian Baroque Route. Apart from the actual monastic buildings, a number of other structures have been preserved among whic ...
Founded: c. 1126 | Location: Rot an der Rot, Germany

Sankt Märgen Abbey

Between 1115 and 1118 the Augustinian monastery was established in Sankt Märgen by Count Bruno von Haigerloch-Wiesneck, Chancellor of Henry V and Provost of Straßburg, as competition to the Zähringen-founded Benedictine monastery of St. Peter auf dem Schwarzwald. The town and the monastery were dependent upon each other for many years. In 1716 a two-steepled Baroque monastery church was built, and the life ...
Founded: 1115-1118 | Location: Sankt Märgen, Germany

Werden Abbey

Near Essen Saint Ludger founded a monastery in 799 and became its first abbot. The little church which Saint Ludger built here in honor of Saint Stephen was completed in 804 and dedicated by Saint Ludger himself, who had meanwhile become Bishop of Münster. Upon the death of Ludger on 26 March 809, the abbacy of Werden passed by inheritance first to his younger brother Hildigrim I (809–827), then successively to ...
Founded: 799 AD | Location: Essen, Germany

St. Peter's Abbey

St Peter"s Abbey in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) is a former Benedictine monastery. The monastic community was the house monastery and burial place of the Zähringen family. It was originally founded in Weilheim, in or before 1073, but was forced by hostile military action during the Investiture Controversy to move to Hirsau. Duke Berthold II of Zähringen (1078–1111) re-founded it as a family monaste ...
Founded: 1073 | Location: Sankt Peter, Germany

Biburg Abbey

Biburg Abbey was a house of the Benedictines founded in 1132 by Konrad and Arbo von Sittling-Biburg. They were sons of the Blessed Berta of Biburg, who donated their castle to the Bishop of Bamberg for the purpose. The foundation was originally a double monastery for both men and women; the nunnery however burnt down in 1258 and was not re-built. In 1555 the monastery was dissolved and the premises came into lay hands. I ...
Founded: 1132 | Location: Biburg, Germany

Altenberg Abbey

Altenberg abbey was founded in 1133 as a daughter house of Morimond Abbey and settled initially in the old castle of the Counts of Berg, Burg Berge, which the counts had left for Schloss Burg, but moved to the new purpose-built monastery in the valley of the Dhünn in 1153. It flourished sufficiently to undertake the settlement of a number of daughter houses of its own from 1143 to 1443. In 1803 it was dissolved du ...
Founded: 1133 | Location: Altenberg, Germany

Attel Abbey

Attel Abbey was a monastery, originally of the Benedictines, later of the Brothers Hospitallers. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint Michael was founded as a Benedictine abbey by Count Arnold of Diessen-Andechs in around 1037. It was dissolved in 1803 in the secularisation of Bavaria. The abbey buildings were partly demolished, partly acquired by private owners. In 1874 the Bavarian government set ...
Founded: c. 1037 | Location: Attel, Germany

Dargun Abbey Ruins

Dargun Abbey was originally a Cistercian monastery, converted after its dissolution into a palace. The monastery was founded here in 1172 on the site of a former heathen temple after the conquest of the region by Christian forces in 1164. The founding community came from Esrum Abbey in Denmark. The monastery was destroyed in 1198, and the monks left, later to found another monastery at Eldena. Dargun was re-established in ...
Founded: 1172 | Location: Dargun, Germany

Brauweiler Abbey

Brauweiler Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery, founded and endowed in 1024 by Pfalzgraf Ezzo, count palatine of Lotharingia of the Ezzonian dynasty and his wife Matilda of Germany, a daughter of Emperor Otto II and Theophano. Ezzo and Matilda were buried here, as were their two eldest sons Liudolf, Count Palatine of Lotharingia (d. 1031) and Otto II, Duke of Swabia (d. 1047). From 1065 until his deat ...
Founded: 1024 | Location: Brauweiler, Germany

Sonnefeld Monastery

Sonnefeld Monastery, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, was founded in 1260 by Henry II von Sonneberg and his wife Kunigunde. The Monastery was at the beginning in Ebersdorf bei Coburg but, after a great fire in 1267, it was moved to Hofstädten. But the Monastery and its surrounding settlement and district adopted Sonnefeld as their names and kept it until 1889, when Sonnefeld and Hofstädten merged to become ...
Founded: 1260 | Location: Sonnefeld, Germany

Donauwörth Abbey

The Holy Cross Abbey in Donauwörth was founded around 1040 by Mangold I von Werd as a Benedictine convent. In the early 12th century the convent moved to the western edge of the city to the highest point insode the city walls. After buildings were damaged during the Thirty Years" War, the abbey church wa rebuilt. In 1770-1780 it was expanded to the Rococo style. The monastery was dissolved in 1803. The church r ...
Founded: c. 1040 | Location: Donauwörth, Germany

Rehna Abbey

Rehna Abbey is a former Benedictine (the 13th century) and Premonstratensian nunnery (until 1552). It was founded between 1230 and 1236. In 1254 the monastery was inaugurated and this year also began the construction of the cloister between church and convent. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the monastery was one of the most important monasteries Mecklenburg. Numerous Lübeck families had their daughters educated ther ...
Founded: 1230-1254 | Location: Rehna, Germany

Scots Monastery

The Scots Monastery (Schottenkirche) is the former Benedictine Abbey of St James in Regensburg. Irish missionaries first arrived in Regensburg in the 11th century, originally setting up camp just south of the city walls. Later the monks purchased a new site outside the western city gate and began building their monastery around 1100. The Church of St. James, a three-aisled basilica with three apses and two east towers, wa ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Osterhofen Abbey

Henry V, Duke of Bavaria and his wife Luitgard erected a collegiate abbey of Augustinian Canons in his palace in Osterhofen in 1004–09. In 1017 the Emperor Henry II of Germany transferred the abbey to the diocese of Bamberg. In 1128 Bishop Otto of Bamberg brought men and women from the Premonstratensian Ursberg Abbey to the Osterhofen collegiate abbey.The abbey was endowed with extensive properties in the Wachau val ...
Founded: 1004-1009 | Location: Osterhofen, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.