Monasteries in Germany

Heggbach Abbey

Heggbach Abbey was a Cistercian nunnery founded in 1231 Beguines from nearby Maselheim, close to a church whose dedication to Saint Pancras suggests may have been a proprietary church of the Counts of Berg. This church was supervised by Salem Abbey. The following year, the small convent at Heggbach was also put under the supervision of Salem Abbey. Between 1233 and 1244 Hekebach was incorporated into the Cistercian order ...
Founded: 1231 | Location: Maselheim, Germany

Kellenried Abbey

Kellenried Abbey is a Benedictine monastery of women founded by the Beuronese Congregation in 1924. The first nuns came from St. Gabriel's Abbey, Bertholdstein. The abbey was named after St. Erentraud of Salzburg, first Abbess of Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg. The abbey church was built in 1923–24 in the Baroque Revival style by Adolf J. Lorenz. In 1926 the monastery was raised to the status of an abbey. In 1940 the nuns ...
Founded: 1924 | Location: Kellenried, Germany

Kirchschletten Monastery

First mentioned in 1143, the Kirchschletten Monastery started as a feudal farm and belonged to the aristocracy until 1856. It became part of the monastery Niederalteich in 1917. There is an organic farm, a guest house and a candle manufacture on the grounds of the monastery.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kirchschletten, Germany

Edelstetten Abbey

Edelstetten monastery, dedicated to Saints John the Baptist and St. Paul was founded in 1126. According to the tradition the founder and first abbess was Mechthild an Augustinian choir woman. Mechthild of Dießen arrived in 1153 and was appointed abbess by the Bishop of Edelstetten to reform the pin. However, after six years, she returned unsuccessful back there. In 1460, the monastery was incorporated into the Margr ...
Founded: 1126 | Location: Edelstetten, Germany

Frauenzell Abbey

Frauenzell Abbey was a house of the Benedictine Order located at Brennberg. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the monastery was founded in 1321 by Reinmar of Brennberg. At first a cell or priory of Oberalteich Abbey, it was granted the status of an abbey in its own right in 1424. It was dissolved in 1803 in the secularisation of the period. Some of the buildings were used for the accommodation of the school and the minister's ...
Founded: 1321 | Location: Brennberg, Germany

Michelfeld Abbey

Michelfeld Abbey was a Benedictine monastery in Auerbach in der Oberpfalz. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Michael and Saint John the Evangelist, was founded in 1119 by Bishop Otto I of Bamberg. It was dissolved in the Reformation, in 1556. Re-opened temporarily in 1661 and permanently in 1684, it was put under the administration of the Electors of Bavaria on 13 March 1802 and finally dissolved in 1803 in the secularisa ...
Founded: 1119 | Location: Auerbach in der Oberpfalz, Germany

Reichenbach Abbey

Reichenbach Abbey, dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin,was founded in 1118 by Markgraf Diepold III of Vohburg and his mother Luitgard. During the Reformation it was looted, and secularised from 1553 to 1669, when it was re-established. It was dissolved again in 1803 during the secularisation of Bavaria. The abbey's property was confiscated by the state and eventually auctioned off in 1820. After a couple of ...
Founded: 1118 | Location: Reichenbach, Germany

Wechterswinkel Abbey

Wechterswinkel Abbey, dedicated to the Holy Trinity and Saint Margaret, was founded in 1134 or 1135 by Embricho of House of Leiningen, bishop of Würzburg, and King Conrad III of Germany. It was so severely damaged in the wars of the 16th century that it was unable to continue, and was dissolved in 1592 by Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn, the then bishop of Würzburg. The assets realised were invested to endow pari ...
Founded: 1134 | Location: Wechterswinkel, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.