Monasteries in Germany

Königsbronn Abbey

Königsbronn Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded in 1303 by Emperor Albert I. The first monks were settled from Salem Abbey. When the permanent buildings were constructed between 1310 and 1325, most of the stone came from the ruined castle. The new monastery was called Königsbronn, from which the town took its name. Albert granted it as part of its endowment the advowson of the church of Reutlingen, where th ...
Founded: 1303 | Location: Königsbronn, Germany

Schöntal Abbey

Schöntal Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey famous as one of the most impressive pieces of Baroque architecture in northern Württemberg. It was founded in 1153 in Neusass by Wolfram von Bebenburg and was settled by monks from Maulbronn Abbey. The original site proved unsuitable and the new community moved to the present location in Schöntal on the Jagst between 1157 and 1163. The land for the new site was p ...
Founded: 1153 | Location: Schöntal, Germany

Roggenburg Abbey

Roggenburg Abbey is widely known for its almost unchanged Baroque building and the organ concerts that are held in the church. For over three centuries, Roggenburg was one of the 40-odd self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire and, as such, was a virtually independent state. Its abbot had seat and voice at the Imperial Diet where he sat on the Bench of the Prelates of Swabia. In 1126 Count Bertold of Bibereck ...
Founded: 1126 | Location: Roggenburg, Germany

Kaisheim Abbey

The Imperial Abbey of Kaisersheim was a Cistercian monastery in Kaisersheim, now Kaisheim. As one of the 40-odd self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire, Kaisersheim was a virtually independent state. Its abbot had seat and voice at the Imperial Diet where he sat on the Bench of the Prelates of Swabia. At the time of its secularisation in 1802, the Abbey covered 136 square kilometers and has 9,500-10,000 subje ...
Founded: 1135 | Location: Kaisheim, Germany

Mariawald Abbey

Mariawald Abbey is a monastery of the Trappists (formally known as the Cistercians of the Strict Observance), located above the village of Heimbach. Following Heinrich Fluitter"s vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a shrine and chapel were built on the site of it, which became a place of pilgrimage, the Marienwallfahrt. For the proper care of the site and the pilgrims land was given in 1480 to the Cistercian ...
Founded: 1486 | Location: Heimbach, Germany

St. Stephen's Abbey

St. Stephen"s Abbey, dedicated to Saint Stephen, was founded in 969 by Saint Ulrich, Bishop of Augsburg, and used by Augustinian canonesses. It was dissolved in the secularisation of Bavaria in 1803, and the premises passed into the possession of the town. The army used the site for a few years as a quartermaster"s store. In 1828 King Ludwig I of Bavaria founded a grammar school here, as a successor to the form ...
Founded: 969 AD | Location: Augsburg, Germany

Rott Abbey

Rott Abbey, dedicated to Saints Marinus and Anianus, was founded in the late 11th century by Count Kuno of Rott (d. 1086). After it was dissolved in 1803 in the secularisation of Bavaria, the buildings were sold off to various private owners and largely demolished. The Rococo church however still remains.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Rott am Inn, Germany

Frauenberg Abbey

Frauenberg Franciscan monastery, founded in 1623, is situated in a park at the top of one of Fulda’s seven hills. From here you have a magnificent view of the city and the Rhön and Vogelsberg mountains. The monastery is a late baroque construction with a very fine interior which has undergone intensive restoration work.
Founded: 1623 | Location: Fulda, Germany

Kirchberg convent

The Kirchberg convent is considered to be one of the most historically important religious buildings in Baden-Wuerttemberg. It also ranks as one of the oldest, having been built in the early 13th century, and one of the first female church houses in central Europe. The Kirchberg monastery was a convent built in 1237, on the site of a former castle. In 1245 the monastery was recognised by Pope Innocent IV. Over roughly th ...
Founded: 1237 | Location: Kirchberg, Germany

Zarrentin Abbey

The Cistercian Zarrentin Abbey was founded around 1250 and securalized in 1552 due the Reformation. Parts of the monastery have survived and the the abbey church is today a parish church.
Founded: 1250 | Location: Zarrentin, Germany

Plankstetten Abbey

Plankstetten Abbey was founded in 1129 as a private monastery of the bishops of Eichstätt by Count Ernst of Hirschberg and his brother Gebhard of Hirschberg, Bishop of Eichstätt. The Romanesque crypt remains from the time of the foundation. After the decline in monastic standards in the 15th century, the abbey was reformed by Abbot Ulrich IV Dürner (1461–94), who also founded the brewery. The abbey w ...
Founded: 1129 | Location: Plankstetten, Germany

St. George's Abbey

St. George"s Abbey in Isny is a former Benedictine abbey founded in 1096 by the Counts of Altshausen-Veringen. In 1106 the foundation was confirmed by Pope Paschal II. Towards the end of the 12th century a Benedictine nunnery was also established in Isny but this was moved in about 1189 to Rohrdorf. St. George"s Abbey was responsible for the foundation of the town of Isny, which was developed as a market at the ...
Founded: 1096 | Location: Isny im Allgäu, Germany

Prüll Charterhouse

Prüll Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Vitus, was established as Prüll Abbey, a Benedictine foundation, in 997 by Gebhard I, Bishop of Regensburg, and his brother Rapoto. In about 1100 the Ottonian church building was replaced by a Romanesque hall church, the first of the sort in Bavaria. In 1484 Prüll became a Carthusian monastery, with the support of Albert ...
Founded: 997 AD | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Medingen Abbey

Medingen Abbey is a former Cistercian nunnery. A founding legend ascribes the convent"s origins to a lay brother called Johannes; the convent"s history from its founding to the election of abbess Margaretha Puffen was formerly depicted in a cycle of 15 painted wooden boards, that were destroyed in the fire of 1781. The legend has it that Johannes claimed divine guidance in his quest to build the new convent. The ...
Founded: 1241 | Location: Medingen, Germany

Reichenbach Priory

Reichenbach Priory was a house of the Benedictine Order located at Klosterreichenbach. The monastery was founded, against the background of the Investiture Controversy and the Hirsau Reforms, as a priory of Hirsau Abbey, from where it was settled, in 1082; in 1085 the church was dedicated to Saint Gregory the Great by Bishop Gebhard of Konstanz. The Vögte (lords protectors) of the monastery were the Counts of Eberst ...
Founded: 1082 | Location: Klosterreichenbach, Germany

Oberschönenfeld Abbey

Oberschönenfeld Abbey is a Cistercian nunnery in Gessertshausen. As early as around 1186 there were Beguines, or a similar community of women, on this site. In about 1211 they formed a more structured community which by 1248, when the church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, had been formally constituted as a Cistercian nunnery, accounted a daughter house of Kaisheim Abbey; its founders were the local nobleman Volkmar vo ...
Founded: 1211-1248 | Location: Gessertshausen, Germany

Maria Engelport Monastery

Maria Engelport Monastery lies in the sleepy valley of the Flaumbach, a tributary valley of the Mosel. It was founded three times during its history. The original foundation took place in 1220. According to the legend appeared to knight Emelrikus of Monreal, he lived near Treis-Karden in Fankel, two angels with burning candles and jingling bells as he was out hunting. At this place he built a church and a convent. Cisterc ...
Founded: 1220/1903 | Location: Treis, Germany

Preetz Priory

Preetz Priory is a former German Benedictine monastery of nuns founded in 1211 by Graf Albrecht of Orlamünde, nephew of King Valdemar II of Denmark. He founded it following a mystical experience which he later recounted happened while he was stalking a deer. After following it into a glen, the deer stood still and he suddenly saw a gleaming cross appear between its antlers. He felt that the site was a holy place whic ...
Founded: 1211 | Location: Preetz, Germany

Weissenau Abbey

Weissenau Abbey was an Imperial abbey (Reichsabtei) of the Holy Roman Empire. The abbey, a Premonstratensian monastery, was an Imperial Estate and therefore its abbot had seat and voice in the Reichstag as a prelate of the Swabian Bench. The abbey existed from 1145 until the secularisation of 1802-1803. The monastery was founded in 1145 by Gebizo of Ravensburg, a ministerialis of the Welfs, and his sister Luitgarde. Its ...
Founded: 1145 | Location: Ravensburg, Germany

Söflingen Abbey

Söflingen Abbey was a nunnery of the Order of Poor Ladies, also known as the Poor Clares. Being the oldest nunnery of this order in Germany, it was also its most important and most affluent. Söflingen Abbey originated from a pre-Franciscan congregation of women that had acquired the rights over three farmsteads close to the river Danube near Ulm. It was for the first time mentioned in 1237. Soon the original location be ...
Founded: 1253 | Location: Ulm, 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.