Monasteries in Germany

Ebrach Abbey

The former Cistercian monastery in Ebrach is a famous and popular destination. Having a wonderful and unique rose window, the Gothic church is one of the region’s great highlights, along with its Baroque monastic buildings. Ebrach was probably the most important front post for the cultural and spiritual development of the regions west for Bamberg and the Steigerwald area. The abbey, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Sa ...
Founded: 1126-1127 | Location: Ebrach, Germany

St. Blaise Abbey

St. Blaise Abbey (Kloster St. Blasien) was a Benedictine monastery. The early history of the abbey is obscure. Its predecessor in the 9th century is supposed to have been a cell of Rheinau Abbey, known as cella alba (the 'white cell'), but the line of development between that and the confirmed existence of St Blaise"s Abbey in the 11th century is unclear. At some point the new foundation would have had to b ...
Founded: 11th/18th century | Location: Sankt Blasien, Germany

Münsterschwarzach Abbey

Münsterschwarzach Abbey, dedicated to the Holy Saviour, the Virgin Mary and Saint Felicity, was founded before 788 as a nunnery. It was a private foundation of the Carolingian ruling house: the abbesses were daughters of the imperial family, for example Theodrada (d. 853), a daughter of Charlemagne. After the death of the last Carolingian abbess, Bertha, in 877, the nuns left the abbey and it was taken over by Benedi ...
Founded: 788 AD | Location: Münsterschwarzach, Germany

Zwiefalten Abbey

Zwiefalten Abbey was a Benedictine monastery founded in 1089 at the time of the Investiture Controversy by Counts Gero and Kuno of Achalm, advised by Bishop Adalbero of Würzburg and Abbot William of Hirsau. The first monks were also from Hirsau Abbey, home of the Hirsau Reforms (under the influence of the Cluniac reforms), which strongly influenced the new foundation. Noker von Zwiefalten was the first abbot and led from ...
Founded: 1089 | Location: Zwiefalten, Germany

Hirsau Abbey

Hirsau Abbey was once one of the most important Benedictine abbeys of Germany. In the 11th and 12th century, the monastery was a centre of the Cluniac Reforms, implemented as 'Hirsau Reforms' in the German lands. The complex was devastated during the War of the Palatine Succession in 1692 and not rebuilt. A Christian chapel at Hirsau dedicated to Saint Nazarius had already been erected in the late 8th century. The monast ...
Founded: 830 AD | Location: Hirsau, Germany

Gladbach Abbey

Gladbach Abbey was a Benedictine abbey founded in 974 by Archbishop Gero of Cologne and the monk Sandrad from Trier. It was named after the Gladbach, a narrow brook that now runs underground. The abbey and its adjoining villages grew into the town of Gladbach, incorporated in the 1360s, the origin of the present city of Mönchengladbach in North Rhine-Westphalia. In 1802 the abbey was occupied by troops under th ...
Founded: 974 AD | Location: Mönchengladbach, Germany

Eldena Abbey Ruins

Eldena Abbey, originally Hilda Abbey, is a former Cistercian monastery. Only ruins survive, which are well known as a frequent subject of Caspar David Friedrich"s paintings. In the 12th century the Baltic coast south of the island of Rügen belonged to the Rani principality of Rügen, which in its turn was subject to the Danes. The Danish Cistercian monastery, Esrum Abbey, was thus able to found a daughter h ...
Founded: 1199-1204 | Location: Greifswald, Germany

Neresheim Abbey

Neresheim Abbey was founded in 1095 as a house of (secular) Augustinian Canons, and converted to a Benedictine monastery in 1106. In the 13th century, the abbey owned seven villages and it had an income from a further 71 places in the area. Ten parish churches were incorporated. During wars and conflicts the monastery was destroyed several times for example during the Thirty Years" War and during Napoleonic Wars of t ...
Founded: 1095 | Location: Neresheim, Germany

Kempten Abbey

The Imperial Abbey of Kempten was an ecclesiastical state of the Holy Roman Empire for centuries until it was annexed to the Electorate of Bavaria in the course of the German mediatization in 1803. Located within the former Duchy of Swabia, the Princely Abbey was the second largest ecclesiastical Imperial State of the Swabian Circle by area, after the Prince-Bishopric of Augsburg. According to the 11th-century chronicles ...
Founded: 752 AD | Location: Kempten (Allgäu), Germany

Cappenberg Castle

Cappenberg Castle is a former Premonstratensian monastery. The Counts of Cappenberg, who were related to the Salians and the Staufers, were a rich and powerful family. During the Investiture Controversy, when they supported Duke Lothar von Supplinburg against Emperor Heinrich V, Count Gottfried von Cappenberg and his brother Otto von Cappenberg led their armies against Münster in February 1121 under the ...
Founded: 1122 | Location: Selm, Germany

St. Michael Abbey Ruins

The Monastery of St. Michael on the Heiligenberg (Saints" Mountain), was a branch of the nearby Lorsch Abbey. The ruined complex that can be seen today was built beginning in 1023. Within the nave are traces of the Roman temple of Mercury. The monastery was abandoned in the 16th century. The first mention of the monastery is in the Lorsch codex, from the 12th century, which dates the founding of the monastery to 870. No ...
Founded: 1023 | Location: Heidelberg, Germany

Bergen auf Rügen Abbey

Bergen auf Rügen Abbey was a monastery for Cistercian nuns. It lasted from the end of the 12th century to the early 16th century as a Roman-Catholic monastery and then, until 1945, as an Evangelical aristocratic nunnery. The Principality of Rügen belonged to the Bishopric of Roskilde since its conquest by the Danes in 1168, Bishop Absalon of Lund being responsible for introducing the territory to Christianity. ...
Founded: 1193 | Location: Bergen auf Rügen, Germany

Burtscheid Abbey

Burtscheid abbey was founded in 997 under Emperor Otto III. The first abbot, Gregor, who came to Burtscheid from Calabria, is sometimes said to have been the brother of Theophanu, Byzantine mother of the Emperor. He was buried beneath the altar after his death in 999, and his date of death, 4 November, was kept as a feast day until the dissolution of the abbey. In 1018 the Emperor Henry II endowed it with the ...
Founded: 997 AD | Location: Burtscheid, Germany

Weingarten Abbey

Weingarten Abbey was founded in 1056 by Welf I, Duke of Bavaria. The name Weingarten (vineyard) is documented from about 1123. He settled it with monks from Altomünster Abbey. In 1126, Henry IX, Duke of Bavaria, withdrew here after his abdication; he died the same year and was buried in the abbey church. The monks worked, among other things, at manuscript illumination. Their most famous work is the Berthold Sacramentary ...
Founded: 1056 | Location: Weingarten, Germany

Mariahilf Monastery

The diocesan town of Passau has long been a centre of religious life in Bavaria and Austria. In 1611, Prince-Bishop Archduke Leopold of Austria brought to Passau, his town of residence, a painting of the Mother of God tenderly embraced by the Child Jesus. The painting was the work of Lucas Cranach the Elder, a leading German painter, and was probably produced after 1537. This outstanding painting was greatly admired by t ...
Founded: 1624 | Location: Passau, Germany

Ochsenhausen Abbey

Ochsenhausen Abbey was a Benedictine monastery was founded according a legend in the 9th century when there was a nunnery here called 'Hohenhusen', which was abandoned at the time of the Hungarian invasions in the early 10th century. A ploughing ox later turned up a chest of valuables buried by the nuns before their flight, and the monastery of Ochsenhausen was founded on that spot. The first Abbey Church of Ochsenhausen ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ochsenhausen, Germany

Steinfeld Abbey

Steinfeld Abbey is a former Premonstratensian monastery, now a Salvatorian convent. The origins of the site go back to about 920. The first monastic settlement at Steinfeld took place in about 1070, and the Premonstratensians settled here in 1130. It became an important monastery in the German Empire, and established a number of daughter houses across Europe, including Strahov Abbey in Prague. It was raised to th ...
Founded: 1070 | Location: Kall, 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

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 cons ...
Founded: 1136 | Location: Salem, Germany

Kamp Abbey

Kamp Abbey was the first Cistercian monastery founded in German territory. It was founded in 1123 by Friedrich I, Archbishop of Cologne, and settled from Morimond Abbey. As the first Cistercian foundation in the region it attracted great endowments and became very wealthy and powerful. It was extremely active in the foundation of daughter houses. Kamp was largely rebuilt in the 15th century but suffered extensive d ...
Founded: 1123 | Location: Kamp-Lintfort, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.