Monasteries in Germany

Beuerberg Abbey

Beuerberg Abbey, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, was founded in about 1120 by Count Otto of Eurasburg; the church was dedicated in 1127. It was damaged by fire in 1294 and again in 1330, when the library and archives were largely destroyed. It was a small house for most of the Middle Ages, but gained in numbers during the reforms originating from the monastery at Indersdorf of the mid 15th century. It suffered a colla ...
Founded: 1120 | Location: Beuerberg, Germany

Wettenhausen Abbey

Wettenhausen Abbey was an Imperial Abbey of Augustinian Canons until its secularization in 1802-1803. Being one of the 40-odd self-ruling Imperial Abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire, Wettenhaussen Abbey was a virtually independent state. Its abbot had seat and voice in the Imperial Diet, where he sat on the Bench of the Prelates of Swabia. The abbey, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint George, was founded in 1130 b ...
Founded: 1130 | Location: Wettenhausen, 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

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

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

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

Bredelar Abbey

In the year 1196, the Archbishop of Cologne summoned monks from the Cistercian Abbey in Hardhausen to establish a new abbey in a former Premonstratensian convent nearby that had been founded in 1170 but disbanded shortly thereafter. As abbey and landholder, the “Zisterze Breidelare“ would go on to spur the economic, intellectual and spiritual growth of the northeast Sauerland region. The Bredelar Abbey thrived for a go ...
Founded: 1196 | Location: Bredelar, Germany

Pielenhofen Abbey

Pielenhofen Abbey for Cistercian nuns, dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was founded in 1240 by the lords of Hohenfels and Ehrenfels. In 1542, during the Reformation in Pfalz-Neuburg, it was placed under secular administration. In 1655 it was subordinated to Kaisheim Abbey as a sub-priory. During the secularisation of Bavaria in 1803 the priory was dissolved; the nuns" church became a parish ch ...
Founded: 1240 | Location: Pielenhofen, 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

Michelfeld Abbey

Michelfeld Abbey was a Benedictine monastery in Auerbach in der Oberpfalz. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Michael and Saint John the Evangelist, was founded in 1119 by Bishop Otto I of Bamberg. It was dissolved in the Reformation, in 1556. Re-opened temporarily in 1661 and permanently in 1684, it was put under the administration of the Electors of Bavaria on 13 March 1802 and finally dissolved in 1803 in the secularisa ...
Founded: 1119 | Location: Auerbach in der Oberpfalz, Germany

Prüfening Abbey

Prüfening Abbey was a Benedictine monastery on the outskirts of Regensburg. Since the beginning of the 19th century it has also been known as Prüfening Castle (Schloss Prüfening). Notably, its extant dedicatory inscription, commemorating the founding of the abbey in 1119, was created by printing and is a unique document of medieval typography. The monastery is situated on the western edge of the town of Re ...
Founded: 1119 | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Nütschau Priory

Nütschau Priory is a Benedictine house located in the former Nütschau manor house. The manor was built in 1577-1579 by Heinrich Rantzau, this community originated after World War II as a refuge for displaced persons, particularly Catholics from the former German territories. The church acquired the site in 1951 and at the request of Hermann Wilhelm Berning, the Bishop of Osnabrück, it was developed by and ...
Founded: 1577/1951 | Location: Nütschau, 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

Frauenzell Abbey

Frauenzell Abbey was a house of the Benedictine Order located at Brennberg. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the monastery was founded in 1321 by Reinmar of Brennberg. At first a cell or priory of Oberalteich Abbey, it was granted the status of an abbey in its own right in 1424. It was dissolved in 1803 in the secularisation of the period. Some of the buildings were used for the accommodation of the school and the minister&q ...
Founded: 1321 | Location: Brennberg, Germany

Lichtenthal Abbey

Lichtenthal Abbey is a Cistercian nunnery founded in 1245 by Irmengard bei Rhein, widow of Margrave Hermann V of Baden. Her body was brought here in 1248 from Backnang Abbey for re-burial. She seriously over-reached herself financially on the project, however, and was obliged to ask her family for help. The imposing gateway, built in 1781, leads into a three-sided walled courtyard with a fountain dedicated to the Blessed ...
Founded: 1245 | Location: Lichtental, 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

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 Volkma ...
Founded: 1211-1248 | Location: Gessertshausen, Germany

Braunau in Rohr Abbey

Braunau in Rohr Abbey is a monastery of the Augustinian Canons dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was founded in 1133 by Adalbert of Rohr. It was dissolved in the secularization of 1803 when the German princes substituted church lands for property they had lost through Napoleon. In the east wing the parish priest's offices and a school were accommodated, and in a part of the west wing, an inn. The ...
Founded: 1133 | Location: Rohr in Niederbayern, Germany

Wechterswinkel Abbey

Wechterswinkel Abbey, dedicated to the Holy Trinity and Saint Margaret, was founded in 1134 or 1135 by Embricho of House of Leiningen, bishop of Würzburg, and King Conrad III of Germany. It was so severely damaged in the wars of the 16th century that it was unable to continue, and was dissolved in 1592 by Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn, the then bishop of Würzburg. The assets realised were invested to endow pari ...
Founded: 1134 | Location: Wechterswinkel, Germany

Gerleve Abbey

Gerleve Abbey was founded by the monks of Beuron Archabbey. The community, dedicated to Saint Joseph, was established in 1899 on the farm given for the purpose by the Wermelt family. It was formally declared an abbey in 1904. The first abbot was ordained in 1906, Raphael Molitor OSB. In 1941 the community was expelled from Westphalia by order of the National Socialists, but the monks were able to return in 1946. There ...
Founded: 1899 | Location: Billerbeck, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.