Monasteries in 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

Holy Cross Monastery Ruins

Heilig Kreuz (Holy Cross) Monastery was founded at the end of the 12th century by Dietrich the Oppressed, Margrave of Meißen. It was for the Benedictine nuns. Its buildings were initially located between Burgberg and Elbe on the site of a former moated castle (today"s Leipziger Strasse 30 to 40). In 1217 the monastery was relocated to the left bank of the Elbe, approx. 1.5 km north of the old town of Meißen. A chu ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Meißen, 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

Buch Abbey

Buch Abbey was first mentioned in a document of Emperor Heinrich IV who bestowed to it the parish of Leisnig According to Cistercian tradition, abbot Hildebert, twelve monks and twelve lay brothers left Sittichenbach Abbey in 1 August 1192 and reached Buch on 17 August 1192. The foundation of the new abbey was initiated by Burgrave Heinrich III of Leisnig, who resided in nearby Mildenstein Castle. The Burgraves of Leisnig ...
Founded: 1192 | Location: Leisnig, 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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.