Monasteries in 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

Windberg Abbey

Windberg Abbey was founded by Count Albert I of Bogen with the assistance of Bishop Otto of Bamberg on the site of the original seat of the Counts of Bogen. Initially it was not a specifically Premonstratensian foundation, but was transferred to the order as an already established community between 1121 and 1146. The quire of the church was dedicated in 1142 by Heinrich Zdik, Bishop of Olmütz, in the presence of Coun ...
Founded: 1121-1146 | Location: Windberg, 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 restor ...
Founded: 762 AD | Location: Schäftlarn, 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

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

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

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. H ...
Founded: 1064 | Location: Siegburg, 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

Franciscan Friary

The Franciscan Friary of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a former friary of the Conventual Franciscans in the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The friary, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was founded in 1281 by Hermann von Hornburg, Schultheiß of Rothenburg, and others. It was wound up in 1548 in the wake of the Reformation. The buildings of the friary, vacated voluntarily, were used initially for the establishment of a ...
Founded: 1281 | Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Niederaltaich Abbey

Niederaltaich Abbey was founded in 731 or possibly 741 by Duke Odilo of Bavaria. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Maurice, was settled by monks from Reichenau Abbey under Saint Pirmin. Eberswind, the first abbot, is considered the compiler of the Lex Baiuvariorum, the first code of law of the Bavarian people. The monastery brought great areas of Lower Bavaria into cultivation as far as the territory of the present Czech ...
Founded: 731-741 AD | Location: Niederalteich, 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

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

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

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

St. Ottilien Archabbey

St. Ottilien Archabbey is a Benedictine monastery in Emming near Eresing and the Ammersee. It is the mother house of the St. Ottilien Congregation, otherwise known as the Missionary Benedictines. In the 16th century a small castle was built at Emming, including a chapel dedicated to Saint Ottilia. Both castle and chapel were made over in the Baroque style in the 17th century. After several changes of owner, and the demo ...
Founded: 1884 | Location: Eresing, Germany

Cismar Abbey

Cismar Abbey was a Benedictine monastery founded in 1238 by Count Adolf IV of Holstein as alternative accommodation for Benedictine monks from Lübeck. In the mid-15th century it was one of the six original members of the influential Bursfelde Congregation, a Benedictine reform movement. After three prosperous centuries, based largely on its possession of a relic of the blood of Christ and a healing spring dedicated t ...
Founded: 1238 | Location: Cismar, Germany

Edelstetten Abbey

Edelstetten monastery, dedicated to Saints John the Baptist and St. Paul was founded in 1126. According to the tradition the founder and first abbess was Mechthild an Augustinian choir woman. Mechthild of Dießen arrived in 1153 and was appointed abbess by the Bishop of Edelstetten to reform the pin. However, after six years, she returned unsuccessful back there. In 1460, the monastery was incorporated into the Margr ...
Founded: 1126 | Location: Edelstetten, Germany

Schlehdorf Abbey

Schlehdorf Abbey was originally a Benedictine monastery, later an Augustinian monastery, and is today a convent of the Missionary Dominican Sisters of King William's Town. The abbey, dedicated to Saints Dionysius and Tertullinus, was founded around perhaps 740 from the nearby Benediktbeuern Abbey. In 769 it was resettled by monks from the abandoned Scharnitz Abbey. The first abbot, Atto, brought with him the relics of Sa ...
Founded: 740-769 AD | Location: Schlehdorf, 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

Ensdorf Abbey

Ensdorf Abbey was a house of the Benedictine Order, dedicated to Saint James. It was founded in 1121 by Pfalzgraf Otto of Wittelsbach. The monastery was dissolved in 1556 but restored in 1669, only to be dissolved again in 1802 in the secularisation of the period. The premises were taken over in 1920 by the Salesians of Don Bosco, who still occupy them.
Founded: 1121 | Location: Ensdorf, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

São Jorge Castle

São Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle occupying a commanding hilltop overlooking the historic centre of the Portuguese city of Lisbon and Tagus River. The strongly fortified citadel dates from medieval period of Portuguese history, and is one of the main tourist sites of Lisbon.

Although the first fortifications on this hilltop date from the 2nd century BC, archaeological excavations have identified a human presence in the Tagus valley as far back as the 6th century BC. The first fortification was, presumably, erected in 48 BC, when Lisbon was classified as a Roman municipality.

The hill was first used by indigenous Celtic tribes, then by Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians as a defensible outpost that was later expropriated by Roman, Suebic, Visigothic, and Moorish peoples. During the 10th century, the fortifications were rebuilt by Muslim Berber forces, these included the walls or Cerca Moura ("Moorish Encirclement").

Kingdom

In the context of the Christian Reconquista, the castle and the city of Lisbon were freed from Moorish rule in 1147 by Afonso Henriques and northern European knights in the Siege of Lisbon during the Second Crusade; this victory was the only notable success of that failed crusade. According to an oft-repeated legend, the knight Martim Moniz, noticing that one of the doors to the castle was open, prevented the Moors from closing it by throwing his own body into the breach, thus allowing Christian soldiers to enter at the cost of his own life. With the taking of the castle Christian forces were able to maintain the defense of Lisbon until the end of the 12th century.

When Lisbon became the capital of the kingdom in 1255, the castle served as the alcáçova, a fortified residence for Afonso III, in his role as governor. It was extensively renovated around 1300 by King Denis I, transforming the Moorish alcáçova into the Royal Palace of the Alcáçova. Between 1373 and 1375, King Ferdinand I ordered the building of the Cerca Nova or Cerca Fernandina, the walled compound that enclosed the entirety of the castle. The master builders João Fernandes and Vasco Brás were responsible for its construction. This wall, which partially replaced the old Moorish walls, was designed to encircle previously unprotected parts of the city. Completed in two years, it had 77 towers and a perimeter of 5,400 metres.

The castle and the city resisted the forces of Castile several times during the 14th century (notably in 1373 and in 1383–1384). It was during this period (the late 14th century) that the castle was dedicated to Saint George by King John I, who had married the English princess Philippa of Lancaster. Saint George, the warrior-saint, was normally represented slaying a dragon, and very was popular in both countries.

From this point onward many of the kingdom's records were housed in the Torre de Ulisses, also known as the Torre Albarrã, until the reign of Manuel I. The Portuguese National Archive is still referred to as the Torre do Tombo. Between 1448 and 1451, the master builder was paid several stipends for his work on the palace. These public works continued until 1452, with additional payments being made for labor and materials to convert the building from a fortified castle to a royal residence.

Around the early 16th century, following the construction of the Ribeira Palace beside the Tagus river, the Palace of Alcáçova began to lose its importance. An earthquake occurring in 1531 further damaged the old castle, contributing further to its decay and neglect. In 1569, King Sebastian ordered the rebuilding of the royal apartments in the castle, intending to use it as his official residence. As part of the rebuilding, in 1577 Filippo Terzi demolished one of the towers near the principal facade of the Church of Loreto. However, many of the works were never completed after the young king's apparent death during the Battle of Alcácer Quibir. The following Portuguese dynastic crisis opened the way for sixty years of Spanish rule and the castle was converted into military barracks and a prison. On 30 December 1642, Teodósio de Frias the Younger was appointed master builder to continue the works begun by his father, Luís de Frias, and his grandfather, Teodósio de Frias. This was part of a greater plan by the Spanish forces to recommission the fortification.

However, after Portugal regained its independence following the Portuguese Restoration War, the works were taken over by the Portuguese government. On 6 November 1648, Nicolau de Langres was called upon to take over the design, execution and construction of a new fortification that would surround the Castle of São Jorge and the city walls of Lisbon. In 1650 the military architect Mateus do Couto was named master builder of the project and reconstruction took on a new formality: although the military engineer João Gillot built new walls in 1652, construction again followed Couto's plans between 1657 and 1733. In 1673, the Soldiers' Hospital, dedicated to São João de Deus, was installed on the grounds beside the Rua do Recolhimento. At the end of the 17th century the Recolhimento do Castelo was constructed along the southeast angle of the courtyard, and in 1733, new projects were initiated by master Custódio Vieira.

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake severely damaged the castle and contributed to its continuing decay: apart from the walls of the old castle, the soldier's hospital and the Recolhimento were left in ruins. The necessity of maintaining a supporting military force within the capital city required expansion of the site's role of garrison and presidio. From 1780 to 1807, the charitable institution Casa Pia, dedicated to the education of poor children, was established in the citadel, while soldiers continued to be garrisoned on site. Inspired by the events of the earthquake and the following tsunami, the first geodetic observatory in Portugal was constructed in 1788 at the top of one of the towers of the castle, later referred to as the Torre do Observatório.

Republic

As part of the commemorative celebrations marking the foundation of nationhood and restoration of independence, the government of António de Oliveira Salazar initiated extensive renovations at the site. Most of the incongruous structures added to the castle compound in previous centuries were demolished and there was a partial restoration of the Recolhimento. In addition, on 25 October 1947, a monument dedicated to Afonso Henriques, presented by the city of Porto, of a replica created by Soares dos Reis (in 1887) was installed on the grounds.