Monasteries in 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) the reformi ...
Founded: 1107 | Location: Mallersdorf, 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

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

Gutenzell Abbey Church

Gutenzell Abbey was a Cistercian nunnery but its origins are unknown. According to legend, the monastery was founded in the 12th century by two sisters of the aristocratic family Schlossberg, whose castle was nearby. However, the first record of Gutenzell Abbey was its refoundation, or possibly confirmation, charter from 1237 as a Cistercian monastery. In its early days the monastery was favoured and supported particular ...
Founded: 1237 | Location: Gutenzell, 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

Reisach Priory

Reisach Priory, dedicated to Saint Theresa, was founded as Urfahrn Priory in 1731 by Johann Georg Messerer, a counsellor at the Bavarian court, and was built between 1737 and 1741 by Abraham Millauer and his son Philipp to plans by the master builder Johann Baptist Gunetzrhainer. The interior of the church is by the Munich court painter Balthasar Albrecht. Urfahrn Priory was dissolved in 1802, during the secularisation o ...
Founded: 1731 | Location: Reisach, 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

Rebdorf Abbey

Rebdorf Abbey was founded around 1156 by Bishop Konrad I. von Morsbach. It flourished until the Thirty Years War, when it was badly damaged. The restoration took place in the 18th century and the new Baroque style church was built in 1732. The abbey was securalized in 1806. 
Founded: 1156 | Location: Eichstätt, Germany

Dobbertin Abbey

Dobbertin Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery of monks, afterwards housed a community of nuns, and later still a women"s collegiate foundation. The abbey was founded during the Christianisation of Germany in about 1220 by Prince Heinrich Borwin II of Mecklenburg and was the first field monastery in Mecklenburg. The founder gave it to the Benedictines for a community of monks. 15 years later it was turned into a B ...
Founded: 1220 | Location: Dobbertin, Germany

Vornbach Abbey

Vornbach Abbey, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint Benedict, was founded in 1094 by Count Ekkebert of Formbach and his wife Mathilde, and also by Count Ulrich of Windberg. It was dissolved in 1803 during the secularisation of Bavaria. The monastic buildings came into the possession of Franz X. Bachmayr, and in 1857 into that of the Baron von Schätzler. The abbey"s Austrian possessions were taken by the stat ...
Founded: 1094 | Location: Neuhaus am Inn, 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

Baumburg Abbey

Baumburg Abbey was founded by Count Berengar II of Sulzbach in 1107-09 to fulfill his oath on the death of his wife Adelheid von Megling-Frontenhausen. Count Berengar appointed Eberwin as provost of the monastery. He moved Augustinian canons to the new abbey from the Berchtesgaden Provostry, which he and Eberwin had previously peopled with canons from Rottenbuch Abbey. He also appropriated property from Berchtesgaden for ...
Founded: 1107 | Location: Baumburg, 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

Wittichen Abbey

Wittichen Abbey is a former Poor Clares abbey founded by Saint Luitgard of Wittichen in 1324. According to Luitgard, who came from the Schenkenzell village of Kaltbrunn-Vortal, God said to her on the site of the monastery: 'Here you are to build me a house!' So she searched for other co-sisters and founded her abbey in the outback of Wittichen with 33 sisters. The abbey found support from the dukes of Teck and ...
Founded: 1324 | Location: Schenkenzell, 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

Biburg Abbey

Biburg Abbey was a house of the Benedictines founded in 1132 by Konrad and Arbo von Sittling-Biburg. They were sons of the Blessed Berta of Biburg, who donated their castle to the Bishop of Bamberg for the purpose. The foundation was originally a double monastery for both men and women; the nunnery however burnt down in 1258 and was not re-built. In 1555 the monastery was dissolved and the premises came into lay hands. I ...
Founded: 1132 | Location: Biburg, 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

Gars Abbey

Gars Abbey was founded in 768 by the cleric Boso from Salzburg for Tassilo III, Duke of Bavaria. For centuries it belonged to the archbishopric of Salzburg. The Augustinian Canons erected the present monastery building after 1122. In 1128 Bishop Conrad I of Salzburg transferred the monastery to the Augustinian Canons. In 1648 the Swedes pillaged and devastated the town and the monastery. Under Provost Athanasius Peitlhau ...
Founded: 768 AD | Location: Gars am Inn, Germany

Neustadt am Main Abbey

Neustadt am Main Abbey was first mentioned in a document dating to 768/769. Reportedly, the consecration of the abbey church was in 793. Berowelf, who succeeded Megingoz as Bishop of Würzburg, sent 50 monks to join him at this Nivenstat or Nuovenstatt ('new place'). To establish the new foundation"s independence from Würzburg, Megingoz succeeded in making it a Königskloster, chartered by the ...
Founded: 760-793 | Location: Neustadt am Main, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.

In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.

The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.

The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.