Monasteries in 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

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

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

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

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

Schuttern Abbey Church

Schuttern Abbey was a Benedictine monastery which was, according to tradition, founded in 603 by the wandering Irish monk Offo. After some initial difficulties the monastery and the settlement round it, at that time known as Offoniscella ('cell of Offo'), gradually flourished. In the 8th century Saint Pirmin introduced the Rule of St. Benedict and revived the fortunes of the abbey, as demonstrated by the rush of ...
Founded: 603 AD | Location: Schuttern, Germany

Mallersdorf Abbey

Mallersdorf was formerly a monastery of the Benedictine Order and is now a Franciscan convent in Mallersdorf-Pfaffenberg. The monastery, dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist, was founded in 1107 by Heinrich of Kirchberg, a ministerialis of Niedermünster in Regensburg, and settled by monks from either the monastery of Michelsberg in Bamberg or St. Emmeram"s Abbey in Regensburg. Under Abbot Eppo (1122-1143) th ...
Founded: 1107 | Location: Mallersdorf, 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.