Monasteries in Germany

All Saints Abbey Ruins

All Saints' Abbey (Kloster Allerheiligen) was a Premonstratensian monastery founded around 1192 when a wooden chapel was built, which was gradually extended to be a monastery. In 1196 the foundation charter was issued by Duchess Uta of Schauenburg. In 1200 Philip of Swabia recognised the foundation, and in 1204 Pope Innocent III confirmed it. The first abbot was Gerung. In 1248 canons from All Saints were sent to Lorsch ...
Founded: 1192 | Location: Oppenau, Germany

Füssen Franciscan Monastery

The Franciscan Monastery was inaugurated in 1628, but damaged already in 1632 by the Swedish army. The restoration took place in the late 1600 and the new wing dates from 1712. The church of St. Stephen was built between 1763-1767. The monastery is the official end of the Romantic Road – a sign is available for photographic proof of a visit. However, the main reason to visit is the fine views that can be enjoyed fr ...
Founded: 1628 | Location: Füssen, Germany

Banz Abbey

Banz Abbey, now known as Schloss Banz, is a former Benedictine monastery. It was founded in about 1070 by Countess Alberada of Schweinfurt and her husband, Count Hermann of Habsberg-Kastl, and until the secularisation of 1803 was the oldest monastery on the upper Main. In the late Middle Ages and until 1575 only members of the nobility were accepted as monks. After the Thirty Years" War the abbey had to be re-built. ...
Founded: c. 1070 | Location: Bad Staffelstein, Germany

Michaelsberg Abbey

Michaelsberg Abbey is situated on the Michaelsberg ('St. Michael's Mount'), about 40 metres above the town of Siegburg. The hill was first inhabited about 800 by the Counts of Auelgau, who built a castle there. In 1064 the Archbishop of Cologne, Anno II of Cologne, founded a monastery there, dedicated to the Archangel Michael, from whom both the mountain and the abbey henceforward took their names. He appointed the ...
Founded: 1064 | Location: Siegburg, Germany

Irsee Abbey

The Imperial Abbey of Irsee is a former Benedictine abbey, now a conference and training centre for Bavarian Swabia. According to tradition, the monastery, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was founded in 1182 by Margrave Heinrich von Ursin-Ronsberg, to house a community that had grown up around a local hermit. The monastery was first established at the long-abandoned Burg Ursin, the margrave"s ancestral castle, where S ...
Founded: 1182 | Location: Irsee, Germany

Eibingen Abbey

Eibingen Abbey (in German Abtei St. Hildegard) is Benedictine nunnery, originally founded in 1165 by Hildegard von Bingen. It was dissolved at the beginning of the 19th century during the secularization of this part of Germany. The present community was established by Charles, 6th Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg in 1904 and re-settled from St. Gabriel's Abbey, Bertholdstein. The nunnery belongs to the Beuronese C ...
Founded: 1900-1904 | Location: Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

Backnang Abbey Church

The Abbey of Saint Pancras of Backnang was founded before 1116 by Herman I, Margrave of Baden, and his wife, Countess Judith of Backnang-Sulichgau. Pope Paschal I confirmed the foundation in 1116. As early as 1123, though, the monastery had to be revived by their son, Margrave Herman II, with the help of canons from Marbach Abbey in Alsace. Between 1123 and 1243 the abbey was the burial place of the Zähringen Margra ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Backnang, Germany

Limburg Abbey Ruins

In the 9th century, the Salian Dukes from Worms built a fortress on the Linthberg as their family seat. In the early 11th century, the fortress was converted into a Limburg monastery with a basilica. It existed until the mid-16th century, today impressive ruins remains.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bad Dürkheim, Germany

Seeon Abbey

Seeon Abbey was a Benedictine monastery founded in 994 by Pfalzgraf Aribo I of Bavaria and settled by Benedictine monks from St. Emmeram"s Abbey, Regensburg. The monastery is on an island in the lake Seeoner See. The abbey soon developed a significant scriptorium, producing manuscripts not only for the abbey"s own use but also for other monasteries and churches. Their most important client was Emperor Henry II, ...
Founded: 994 AD | Location: Seeon-Seebruck, Germany

Petershausen Abbey

Petershausen Abbey was founded as an exempt abbey named after Saint Peter in 983 by Bishop Gebhard of Constance, located on the northern shore of the Rhine river opposite to the episcopal residence at Constance with its cathedral. Gebhard dedicated the monastery church to Pope Gregory the Great and settled the abbey with monks descending from Einsiedeln. Under Bishop Gebhard III of Zähringen and Abbot Theodoric (108 ...
Founded: 983 AD | Location: Konstanz, Germany

Wiblingen Abbey

Wiblingen Abbey was a former Benedictine abbey which was later used as barracks. Today its buildings house several departments of the medical faculty of the University of Ulm and is part of the Upper Swabian Baroque Route. Wiblingen Abbey was founded in 1093 by the counts Hartmann and Otto von Kirchberg. The counts offered monks of St. Blaise"s Abbey in the Black Forest lands near the river Iller, which the monks us ...
Founded: 1093 | Location: Ulm, Germany

Herrenalb Abbey

Herrenalb Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery founded probably in 1147 or 1148 by Count Berthold of Eberstein. The new monastery was settled by monks from Neubourg Abbey in Alsace. The abbey owned scattered estates and communities in the Alb valley in the northern Black Forest. The abbey was however never able to concentrate its lands so as to maximise their economic potential, and never became particularly wealthy. T ...
Founded: c. 1147 | Location: Bad Herrenalb, Germany

Steingaden Abbey

Dedicated to John the Baptist, the Steingaden abbey was founded in 1147 as a Premonstratensian house by Welf VI, third son of Henry the Black, Duke of Bavaria, and brother of Duke Henry the Proud. The first monks and their abbot came from the Premonstratensian Rot an der Rot Abbey. The Romanesque abbey church was dedicated in 1176. Between 1470 and 1491 the abbey buildings were refurbished under Abbot Caspar Suiter in the ...
Founded: 1147/1663 | Location: Steingaden, Germany

Schäftlarn Abbey

Schäftlarn Abbey was founded in 762 by Waltrich, a Benedictine monk of noble family, on his own land. During the next two centuries the monastery grew as a result of various gifts and endowments (among them the estates of Schwabing and Hesselohe). From 1140 to its dissolution during the secularisation of Bavaria in 1803, Schäftlarn belonged to the Premonstratensian Order. In 1866 King Ludwig I of Bavaria restored posse ...
Founded: 762 AD | Location: Schäftlarn, Germany

Heisterbach Abbey Ruins

Heisterbach Abbey was a Cistercian monastery in the Siebengebirge near Oberdollendorf. The tradition of its origin is that a knight named Walther lived as a hermit on the Stromberg, also known as the Petersberg, one of the mountains forming the Siebengebirge. When numerous disciples began to settle near his cell, he built a monastery in 1134, where the community lived according to the Rule of St. Augustine. After t ...
Founded: 1189 | Location: Oberdollendorf, Germany

Heilsbronn Abbey Church

Heilsbronn Abbey was a Cistercian monastery at Heilsbronn founded in 1132–33 by Saint Otto of Bamberg. It was settled by monks from Ebrach Abbey, under the first abbot Rapotho. It was one of the wealthiest monasteries of Germany, with possessions around Franconia as far as Regensburg and in Württemberg. These rich endowments were mostly made by the dukes of Abenberg and their heirs, the Hohenzollern Burgraves of Nuremb ...
Founded: 1132 | Location: Heilsbronn, Germany

St. Matthias' Abbey

St. Matthias" Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in Trier. The abbey church, a Romanesque basilica, is a renowned place of pilgrimage because of the tomb of Saint Matthias the Apostle, after whom the abbey is named, located here since the 12th century, and the only burial of an apostle in Germany and north of the Alps. The abbey was originally named after Saint Eucharius, first Bishop of Trier, whose tomb is in the cry ...
Founded: 977 AD | Location: Trier, Germany

Prenzlau Abbey

The Dominican monastery at Prenzlau was founded in 1275, joining an existing Franciscan monastery and the Nunnery of Mary Magdalen. The monastery was thus a further spiritual centre serving Prenzlau"s citizens, playing an important role in the growth of the town and ensuring its significance in the medieval Mark of Brandenburg. The Dominican monastery"s compound comprises the monastic church and the originally ...
Founded: 1275 | Location: Prenzlau, Germany

Werden Abbey

Near Essen Saint Ludger founded a monastery in 799 and became its first abbot. The little church which Saint Ludger built here in honor of Saint Stephen was completed in 804 and dedicated by Saint Ludger himself, who had meanwhile become Bishop of Münster. Upon the death of Ludger on 26 March 809, the abbacy of Werden passed by inheritance first to his younger brother Hildigrim I (809–827), then successively to ...
Founded: 799 AD | Location: Essen, Germany

Rottenbuch Abbey Church

Rottenbuch Abbey was founded as an Augustinian monastery in 1073 on land granted by Duke Welf I of Bavaria. The Abbey church was constructed between 1085 and 1125 in the Romanesque style. The design of a crossing transept and free-standing tower is unusual for a Bavarian church. Rottenbuch was a center of papal loyalty during the Investiture Controversy. Under the patronage of Emperor Louis the Bavarian in the 14th centur ...
Founded: 1073 | Location: Rottenbuch, 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.