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 woodlan ...
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

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.