Monasteries in Germany

Franciscan Friary

The Franciscan Friary of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a former friary of the Conventual Franciscans in the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The friary, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was founded in 1281 by Hermann von Hornburg, Schultheiß of Rothenburg, and others. It was wound up in 1548 in the wake of the Reformation. The buildings of the friary, vacated voluntarily, were used initially for the establishment of a ...
Founded: 1281 | Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Maulbronn Monastery

Founded in 1147, the Cistercian Maulbronn Monastery is considered the most complete and best-preserved medieval monastic complex north of the Alps. Surrounded by fortified walls, the main buildings were constructed between the 12th and 16th centuries. The monastery"s church, mainly in Transitional Gothic style, had a major influence in the spread of Gothic architecture over much of northern and central Europe. The water-m ...
Founded: 1147 | Location: Maulbronn, Germany

St. Mang's Abbey

The Benedictine abbey of Saint Mang was founded in the first half of the 9th century as a proprietary monastery of the Prince-Bishops of Augsburg. The reason for its foundation goes back to the hermit Magnus of Füssen (later Saint Mang) and his Benedictine brother Theodor, both from the Abbey of Saint Gall, who built a cell and an oratory here. The saint"s body, amid miracles, was discovered uncorrupted, a proof of h ...
Founded: 9th century | Location: Füssen, Germany

Quedlinburg Abbey

Quedlinburg Abbey was a house of secular canonesses. It was founded on the castle hill of Quedlinburg in the present Saxony-Anhalt in 936 by Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, at the request of his mother Queen Matilda, later canonised as Saint Matilda, in honour of her late husband, Otto"s father, King Henry the Fowler, and as his memorial. Henry was buried here, as was Matilda herself. Thanks to its Imperial connections the n ...
Founded: 936 AD | Location: Quedlinburg, Germany

Deutz Abbey Church

Deutz Abbey was founded in 1003 on the site of a Roman fort by the future Saint Heribert, Archbishop of Cologne, close adviser of Emperor Otto III. Heribert died in 1021 and was buried in the Romanesque church he had had built here. The theologian Rupert of Deutz was abbot during the 1120s. The abbey had extensive properties, but its strategic position by the Rhine exposed it to involvement in fighting, and ...
Founded: 1003 | Location: Cologne, Germany

Frauenchiemsee Abbey

Frauenchiemsee monastery was founded in 782 by Tassilo III, Duke of Bavaria. After the destruction of the Hungarian incursions, the monastery"s heyday was between the 11th and 15th centuries. The monastery buildings were rebuilt between 1728 and 1732. In the course of the German Mediatisation the monastery was secularised between 1803 and 1835. King Ludwig I of Bavaria rebuilt the Benedictine monastery in 1836 under the n ...
Founded: 782 AD | Location: Chiemsee, Germany

Gengenbach Abbey

Gengenbach Abbey was an Imperial Benedictine Abbey from the late Carolingian period to 1803. It was founded by Saint Pirmin (d. 735) sometime after his expulsion from Reichenau in 727 and settled by monks from Gorze Abbey. It enjoyed good relations with the Carolingian dynasty and soon became an Imperial abbey, with territorial independence. In 1007, however, Emperor Henry II presented it to his newly founded Prince-Bisho ...
Founded: c. 730 AD | Location: Gengenbach, Germany

Doberan Minster

The Doberan Minster is the main Lutheran Church of Bad Doberan. Close to the Baltic Sea and the Hanseatic city of Rostock, it is the most important religious heritage of the European Route of Brick Gothic. It is the remaining part of the Ex-Cistercian Doberan Abbey, dedicated in 1368. The first abbey in Mecklenburg, founded in 1171, which was also used as the burial site for the regional rulers, became important both poli ...
Founded: 1368 | Location: Bad Doberan, Germany

Niedermünster Abbey Church

The Niedermünster was a house of canonesses in Regensburg. At the height of its power it was one of the wealthiest and most influential in Bavaria. The church is still in use as the parish church of Regensburg Cathedral. This women's religious community, dedicated to Saint Erhard of Regensburg at its founding and later to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary as well, was recorded for the first time in about 889. However, t ...
Founded: 788 AD | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Ettal Abbey

Ettal Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in the village of Ettal close to Oberammergau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It is one of the largest Benedictine houses and is a major attraction for visitors. Ettal Abbey was founded in 1330 by Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian in the Graswang valley, in fulfilment of an oath on his return from Italy, on a site of strategic importance on the primary trade route between Italy and Augsburg. ...
Founded: 1330 | Location: Ettal, Germany

Eberbach Abbey

Kloster Eberbach was founded in 1136 by Bernard of Clairvaux as the first Cistercian monastery on the east bank of the Rhine, on the site of a previous monastic foundation of Adalbert of Mainz, which had been occupied at first by Augustinian canons and then by Benedictine monks, which had however failed to establish itself. Eberbach soon became one of the largest and most active monasteries of Germany. At its height in t ...
Founded: 1136 | Location: Eltville am Rhein, Germany

Andechs Abbey

The Benedictine priory and erstwhile abbey of Andechs is a place of pilgrimage and famed for its flamboyant Baroque church (1712). The abbey runs a brewery, Klosterbrauerei Andechs. The site of Andechs was originally occupied by a castle belonging to the counts of Dießen on the Ammersee, probably built on a Roman castrum, and remained the seat of the powerful counts of Dießen-Andechs (1135 to 1180) and dukes ...
Founded: 1455 | Location: Andechs, Germany

Blaubeuren Abbey

Blaubeuren Abbey was a house of the Benedictine Order founded in 1085 by the Counts of Rück and Tübingen, against the background of the Investiture Controversy and the Hirsau Reforms. The first abbot, Adzelinus, and monks were from Hirsau Abbey. Abbot Fabri was closely involved with the foundation of the University of Tübingen in 1477. In 1493 the high altar was created. The choir stalls by Jörg Syrlin ...
Founded: 1085 | Location: Blaubeuren, Germany

Michaelsberg Abbey

After the creation of the Bishopric of Bamberg by Emperor Henry II, the first Bishop of Bamberg, Eberhard I, founded the Michaelsberg abbey in 1015 as the bishop's private monastery. Accordingly the abbot answered directly to the bishop of Bamberg, and to no-one else. The monks for the new establishment were drawn from Amorbach Abbey and Fulda Abbey. The chronicler and author Frutolf of Michelsberg was prior here until h ...
Founded: 1015 | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Bebenhausen Abbey

Bebenhausen Abbey was a Cistercian monastery built by Rudolph I, Count Palatine of Tübingen, probably in 1183. Attractively set in a peaceful valley, it is one of the best-preserved Cistercian abbeys in southern Germany. After the Reformation swept through in 1534, and a boarding school was established in 1560, the number of monks dwindled, until the monastery was finally dissolved in 1648. The abbey’s idyllic ...
Founded: 1183 | Location: Bebenhausen, Germany

St. Boniface's Abbey

St. Boniface"s Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in 1835 by King Ludwig I of Bavaria, as a part of his efforts to reanimate the country"s spiritual life by the restoration of the monasteries destroyed during the secularisation of the early 19th century. The abbey, constructed in Byzantine style, was formally dedicated in 1850. It was destroyed in World War II and only partly restored. The church contains ...
Founded: 1835 | Location: Munich, Germany

St. Emmeram's Abbey

St. Emmeram's Abbey, now known as Schloss Thurn und Taxis, was a Benedictine monastery founded in about 739 at the grave of the itinerant Frankish bishop Saint Emmeram. Saint Wolfgang, who was made bishop in 972, ordered that a library be constructed at St. Emmeram shortly after his arrival in Regensburg. An active scriptorium had existed at St. Emmeram in the Carolingian period, but it is not known whether it occupied a ...
Founded: 739 AD | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Abbey of the Holy Cross

The Abbey of the Holy Cross in Rostock was founded in the 13th century by Cistercian nuns. It is the only completely preserved abbey in the city. The complex includes the former abbey church which is used today as the University Church (Universitätskirche). The remaining convent buildings house the Museum of Cultural History (Kulturhistorische Museum) for the city of Rostock. The nunnery was founded by the Danish Qu ...
Founded: 1270 | Location: Rostock, Germany

St. John’s Monastery

Founded by the Franciscans in 1254 St. John’s Monastery attracts its visitors with the monastery itself, a beautiful rose garden, the chapter hall, cross-shaped vaults and a baroque library. Furthermore, the monastery buildings house a much-used municipal archive, providing a broad collection of historical documents, records, books, old pictures and prints of the town.
Founded: 1254 | Location: Stralsund, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.