Monasteries in Germany

Carmelite Monastery

The Carmelite monastery of Bamberg was founded in the 12th century and turned into a baroque style building by Leonhard Dientzenhofer in 1692-1701. The church dedicated to St. Theodor was part of a Cistercian convent, whose nuns devoted themselves to nursing in the 13th century. In 1589, Carmelites moved into the building, that had been deserted in the meantime. Behind the monastery"s baroque facade, the visitor is g ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Maria Laach Abbey

Maria Laach Abbey was founded in 1093 as a priory of Affligem Abbey (in modern Belgium) by the first Count Palatine of the Rhine Heinrich II von Laach and his wife Adelheid von Orlamünde-Weimar, widow of Hermann II of Lotharingia. Laach became an independent house in 1127, under its first abbot, Gilbert. The abbey developed as a centre of study during the 12th century. The 13th-century abbots Albert (1199–1217) ...
Founded: 1093 | Location: Andernach, 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

Weltenburg Abbey

Weltenburg Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded by monks of the Hiberno-Scottish mission around 620 AD. It is held to be the oldest monastery in Bavaria. According to tradition, the abbey was founded in 617 by Agilus and Eustace of Luxeuil, both students of Columbanus. Reportedly during the first half of the 8th century, the abbey took on the rules of the Benedictine order and was supported by Tassilo III. By 932 at ...
Founded: 617 AD | Location: Weltenburg, Germany

Fulda Abbey

Fulda Abbey was a Benedictine abbey as well as an ecclesiastical principality founded in 744 by Saint Sturm, a disciple of Saint Boniface. Through the 8th and 9th centuries, Fulda Abbey became a prominent center of learning and culture in Germany, and a site of religious significance and pilgrimage following the burial of Boniface. The growth in population around Fulda would result in its elevation to a prince-bishopric i ...
Founded: 744 AD | Location: Fulda, Germany

St. Ulrich's and St. Afra's Abbey

From the late 16th century onward, the Abbey of St. Ulrich and St Afra was one of the 40-odd self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire and, as such, was a virtually independent state. The territory of that state was very fragmented: the abbey of St. Ulrich and St Afra proper enclaved within the Free Imperial City of Augsburg, and several small territories disseminated throughout the region. At the time of its d ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Augsburg, Germany

St. Catherine's Monastery

St. Catherine"s Abbey in Stralsund is one of the few Northern German monasteries, whose Gothic substance has almost survived in its entirety. It was built by the Dominicans in 1251 and used as orphanage and public school after the Reformation. Nowadays, it is home to the famous German Oceanographic Museum and the Museum of Cultural History, offering a comprehensive collection of artefacts of the region’s histor ...
Founded: 1251 | Location: Stralsund, Germany

Alpirsbach Abbey

Alpirsbach Abbey was a Benedictine monastery founded in 1095 by Count Adalbert of Zollern. It was settled by monks from Sankt Blasien in the Schwarzwald. It was dissolved as a Catholic monastery in 1535 in the course of the Reformation by Duke Ulrich of Württemberg, but the buildings have continued in Protestant use for various purposes until the present day.
Founded: 1095 | Location: Alpirsbach, Germany

Benediktbeuern Abbey

Benediktbeuern Abbey is a monastery of the Salesians of Don Bosco, originally a monastery of the Benedictine Order. The monastery, dedicated to Saints James and Benedict, was founded in around 739/740 as a Benedictine abbey by members of the Huosi, a Bavarian noble clan, who also provided the three brothers who served one after the other as the first three abbots, traditionally named as Lanfrid, Waldram, and Eliland, for ...
Founded: 739 AD | Location: Benediktbeuern, Germany

Fürstenfeld Abbey

Fürstenfeld Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery in Fürstenfeldbruck. It was one of the household monasteries of the Wittelsbachs. The abbey church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is held to be a masterpiece of the late Baroque in southern Germany. In 1256, Louis II, Duke of Bavaria killed his first wife, Marie of Brabant (1226–1256) on suspicion of adultery, the penance for which, as imposed by Po ...
Founded: 1263 | Location: Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany

St. Marienthal Abbey

St. Marienthal Abbey (Kloster St. Marienthal) is the oldest nunnery of the Cistercian Order in Germany to have maintained unbroken occupation of its house since its foundation. St. Marienthal is located to the south of Ostritz on the left bank of the Neisse, which at this point forms the German border with Poland. The abbey was founded in 1234 by Kunigunde of Hohenstaufen, daughter of Philip of Swabia and wife of Wencesl ...
Founded: 1234 | Location: Ostritz, Germany

Tegernsee Abbey

Tegernsee Abbey, officially known as St. Quirinus Abbey for its patron saint St. Quirinus, was founded either in 746 or around 765 AD. It was settled by monks from St. Gall and dedicated to Saint Quirinus of Rome, whose relics were brought here from Rome in 804. Soon, the monastery spread the message of Christianity as far as the Tyrol and Lower Austria. Until 1803, it was the most important Benedictine community in Bavar ...
Founded: 746-765 AD | Location: Tegernsee, Germany

Säckingen Abbey

Säckingen Abbey is a former Roman Catholic abbey founded in the 6th or 7th century by Fridolin of Säckingen, an Irish monk. While the Abbey had both monks and nuns, only the nuns" convent grew to be an important religious, economic and cultural institution for the entire upper Rhine. Little is known about the early history of the Abbey before the 9th century. On 10 February 878, the Emperor Charles the Fat ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Bad Säckingen, Germany

Lehnin Abbey

Lehnin Abbey was founded by the Ascanian margrave Otto I of Brandenburg in 1180, 23 years after his father, late Albert the Bear had finally defeated the Slavic prince Jaxa of Köpenick and established the Brandenburg margraviate in 1157. According to legend, Otto, while hunting at the site, had fallen asleep beneath a giant oak, when a white deer appeared to him in a dream, whose furious attacks he could only ward off by ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Lehnin, Germany

Ottobeuren Abbey

Ottobeuren Abbey was one of the self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire and, as such, was a virtually independent state. It was originally founded in 764 by Blessed Toto, and dedicated to St. Alexander, the martyr. Of its early history little is known beyond the fact that Toto, its first abbot, died about 815 and that Saint Ulrich was its abbot in 972. In the 11th century its discipline was on the decline, un ...
Founded: 764 AD | Location: Ottobeuren, Germany

St. Augustine's Monastery

The church and monastery of the Augustinian hermits in Erfurt was built around 1300. Martin Luther, the famous Augustinian monk, was admitted to the monastery on 17 July 1505. The Augustinian Monastery pays tribute to Martin Luther with a new exhibition. The Lutherzelle (Luther's cell) can be visited as part of the exhibition. Since 1988 the monastery has been used as an ecumenical conference centre and a memorial to Luth ...
Founded: 1300 | Location: Erfurt, 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

Imperial Abbey of Corvey

The Imperial Abbey of Corvey or Princely Abbey of Corvey was a Benedictine abbey. The site is located along the Weser River on the outskirts of Höxter where the Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey were erected between AD 822 and 885 in a largely preserved rural setting. The Westwork (monumental, west-facing entrance) is the only standing structure that dates back to the Carolingian era, while the original imperial ab ...
Founded: 844 AD | Location: Corvey, Germany

Altzella Abbey

In 1162 Emperor Frederick I acquired cleared land from a monastery founded by Otto II, Margrave of Meissen, some of which was exchanged after the discovery of silver in 1168. In the following years, in accordance with the wishes of the founder, Hedwig of Brandenburg, wife of Otto of Meissen, the Cistercian Order undertook the establishment of an abbey on this land, into which in 1175 the first abbot with a community of t ...
Founded: 1162-1230 | Location: Nossen, Germany

Monastic Island of Reichenau

The island of Reichenau on Lake Constance preserves the traces of the Benedictine monastery, founded in 724, which exercised remarkable spiritual, intellectual and artistic influence. The churches of St Mary and Marcus, St Peter and St Paul, and St George, mainly built between the 9th and 11th centuries, provide a panorama of early medieval monastic architecture in central Europe. Their wall paintings bear witness to impr ...
Founded: 724 AD | Location: Insel Reichenau, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Varberg Fortress

Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.

King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.

The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.

It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.