Monasteries in 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

Schussenried Abbey

Schussenried Abbey was a Premonstratensian monastery founded by the local landowners, Berengar and Konrad of Schussenried in 1183. It was settled from the Premonstratensian Rot an der Rot Abbey. Pope Innocent III granted it his protection and guaranteed its immunity by a privilege of 13 February 1211. It acquired substantial endowments and built up a considerable territory, and was declared an imperial abbey (i.e., territ ...
Founded: 1183 | Location: Bad Schussenried, Germany

Amorbach Abbey

Amorbach Abbey was one of four Carolingian foundations intended to establish Christianity in the region of the Odenwald. It is said to take its name from Amor, a disciple of Saint Pirmin, regarded as the founder. The abbey was consecrated in 734. By 800 it had become a Reichsabtei, the abbot being directly answerable to Charlemagne. Pepin united it to the Bishopric of Würzburg, although control of it was much dispute ...
Founded: 734 AD | Location: Amorbach, Germany

Cologne Charterhouse

Cologne Charterhouse (Kölner Kartause) was a Carthusian monastery established in 1334. The monastery developed into the largest charterhouse in Germany until it was forcibly dissolved in 1794 by the invading French Revolutionary troops. The building complex was then neglected until World War II, when it was mostly destroyed. The present building complex is very largely a post-war reconstruction. Since 1928 the Cart ...
Founded: 1334 | Location: Cologne, Germany

Kastl Abbey

Kastl Abbey, dedicated to Saint Peter, was founded in 1103 or shortly before by Count Berengar II of Sulzbach together with Frederick and Otto, Counts of Kastl-Habsberg. It was dissolved in 1563 in the course of the Reformation, but re-established as a Catholic monastery in 1625. From 1636 the building was used by the Jesuits, from 1773 by the Knights Hospitallers. Dissolved again in 1803, it was the seat of the Provinci ...
Founded: 1103 | Location: Kastl, Germany

Scheyern Abbey

Scheyern Abbey was established in 1119 as the final site of the community originally founded in around 1077 at Bayrischzell by Countess Haziga of Aragon, wife of Otto II, Count of Scheyern, the ancestors of the Wittelsbachs. The first monks were from Hirsau Abbey, of which the new monastery was a priory, founded as it was against the background of the Investiture Controversy and the Hirsau Reforms. The original site prove ...
Founded: 1119 | Location: Scheyern, Germany

Sankt Märgen Abbey

Between 1115 and 1118 the Augustinian monastery was established in Sankt Märgen by Count Bruno von Haigerloch-Wiesneck, Chancellor of Henry V and Provost of Straßburg, as competition to the Zähringen-founded Benedictine monastery of St. Peter auf dem Schwarzwald. The town and the monastery were dependent upon each other for many years. In 1716 a two-steepled Baroque monastery church was built, and the life ...
Founded: 1115-1118 | Location: Sankt Märgen, Germany

Lorch Abbey

Lorch Abbey is a former Benedictine family monastery of the Staufer family. It was founded around 1102 by the Duke Friedrich I from Staufer family. After the Reformation the abbey was turned in to the Protestant convent school in 1556. Today Lorch Abbey is open for tours.
Founded: 1102 | Location: Lorch, Germany

Beuron Archabbey

Beuron Archabbey is a major house of the Benedictine Order. It was founded in 1863 by the brothers Maurus and Placidus Wolter, in buildings which until 1802 had housed an Augustinian monastery. Between 1875 and 1887 because of political conditions during the 'Kulturkampf' the monks had to leave the abbey, but used the opportunity to found new communities elsewhere, which afterwards joined together under the lead ...
Founded: 1863 | Location: Beuron, Germany

Neuburg Abbey

Neuburg Abbey was founded in 1130 by Anshelm, a monk from the Benedictine Lorsch Abbey, as a priory of Lorsch. It did not thrive, and in 1195 was turned into a nunnery by order of Conrad of Hohenstaufen, Count Palatine of the Rhine, and raised to the status of abbey, but its condition did not improve as had been hoped. When Lorsch Abbey was suppressed in 1232 Neuburg passed under the authority first of the Bishop of Mainz ...
Founded: 1130 | Location: Heidelberg, Germany

St. Trudpert's Abbey

St. Trudpert"s Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery. According to tradition, the abbey originated with Saint Trudpert, an Irish missionary and martyr in the southern Black Forest in the first half of the 7th century. He established a hermitage in Münstertal which became a monastery in the 9th century, and which by, at the latest, 900 had expanded to a monastic community supported by the influential noble fami ...
Founded: c. 900 AD | Location: Obermünstertal, Germany

Dargun Abbey Ruins

Dargun Abbey was originally a Cistercian monastery, converted after its dissolution into a palace. The monastery was founded here in 1172 on the site of a former heathen temple after the conquest of the region by Christian forces in 1164. The founding community came from Esrum Abbey in Denmark. The monastery was destroyed in 1198, and the monks left, later to found another monastery at Eldena. Dargun was re-established in ...
Founded: 1172 | Location: Dargun, Germany

Ribnitz Abbey

The Clarissa (Poor Clares) order nunnery in Ribnitz was one of the last nunnerys or monasteries to be founded in the dutchy of Mecklenburg. In 1323, Duke Heinrich II von Mecklenburg bequeathed to the Franciscans his court stronghold in the southeast of the town of Ribnitz. The first four nuns arrived from the Clarissa nunnery in the Westphalian town of Weißenfels. In 1330, the nunnery is consecrated, while today's church ...
Founded: 1330 | Location: Ribnitz, Germany

Wessobrunn Abbey

Wessobrunn Abbey was founded in about 753 and dedicated to Saint Peter. According a legend Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria was hunting nearby and had a vision of three springs, which his servant Wezzo duly discovered the next day (the name means Wesso or Wezzo"s spring(s)). The three springs are still to be seen, but there is otherwise no evidence of the truth of the story, and it is likely that the founders were a local ...
Founded: c. 753 AD | Location: Wessobrunn, Germany

Grafschaft Abbey

Grafschaft Benedictine Abbey was founded in 1072 on a site at the foot of the Wilzenberg mountain, by Saint Anno, Archbishop of Cologne, whose statue still stands at the west gate. The monastery was dedicated between 1079 and 1089. The original buildings burned down in 1270. From 1729 the premises were gradually replaced by completely new buildings in the Baroque style; the rebuild was finished in 1742 and the new ab ...
Founded: 1072 | Location: Schmallenberg-Grafschaft, Germany

Donauwörth Abbey

The Holy Cross Abbey in Donauwörth was founded around 1040 by Mangold I von Werd as a Benedictine convent. In the early 12th century the convent moved to the western edge of the city to the highest point insode the city walls. After buildings were damaged during the Thirty Years" War, the abbey church wa rebuilt. In 1770-1780 it was expanded to the Rococo style. The monastery was dissolved in 1803. The church r ...
Founded: c. 1040 | Location: Donauwörth, Germany

Knechsteden Abbey

Knechsteden Abbey is a former Premonstratensian abbey in Dormagen, since the 1890s a house of the Spiritans. It was founded in 1130, and in 1138 building began on the church, which was created a basilica minor in 1974.
Founded: 1130 | Location: Dormagen, Germany

Marchtal Abbey

Marchtal Abbey is a former Premonstratensian monastery founded in the 8th century. In 776 the noble clan of the Ahalolfinger made a gift of the monastery founded by their ancestor Halaholf and his wife to St Gall"s Abbey. By 993 the monastery had become a collegiate foundation of canons dedicated by Herman II, Duke of Swabia, and his wife Gerberga to the apostles Peter and Paul. During the 12th century the monastery pass ...
Founded: before 776 / 1171 | Location: Obermarchtal, Germany

Buxheim Charterhouse

Buxheim Charterhouse was formerly a monastery of the Carthusians (in fact, the largest charterhouse in Germany) and is now a monastery of the Salesians. The estate of Buxheim belonged from the mid-10th century to the chapter of Augsburg Cathedral, who in about 1100 founded a house of canons here, dedicated to Our Dear Lady. In 1402 however, after a long period of decline, in an extreme move to preserve it the then provo ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Buxheim, Germany

Höglwörth Abbey

Höglwörth Abbey is a former monastery of the Augustinian Canons, dedicated to St. Peter and Paul. It was founded in 1125 by Archbishop Conrad I of Salzburg. It was the only monastery saved from the secularization of Bavaria (1802 and 1803), until Rupertiwinkel became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1816. The last provost Gilbert Grab sought relief from secularization from 1813, but this was not granted until 1 ...
Founded: 1125 | Location: Höglwörth, 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.