Monasteries in Germany

Schönau Abbey

Schönau Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded in 1142 from Eberbach Abbey. The present settlement of Schönau grew up round the monastery. By the end of the 12th century Schönau was already in use as a burial place of the Staufen family: in 1195 Conrad of Hohenstaufen, Count Palatine of the Rhine, was buried here, as were his son of the same name, probably in 1186, and both his wives. Adolf, Count Palatin ...
Founded: 1142 | Location: Schönau, Germany

Rinchnach Priory

Rinchnach Priory, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, was founded in 1011 by Saint Gunther, a Benedictine monk of Niederaltaich Abbey, as the first settlement in the central Bavarian Forest. In 1029 Emperor Conrad II endowed the monastery with land. It was made a priory of Niederaltaich in 1040, when Saint Gunther moved on to Gutwasser (the present Dobra Voda) in Bohemia. In 1488 the Hussites burnt the monastery down. I ...
Founded: 1011 | Location: Rinchnach, Germany

St. Vitus' Abbey

St. Vitus' Abbey on the Rott was a Benedictine monastery founded in 1121 by the nobleman Dietmar of Lungau, and dissolved during the secularisation of Bavaria in 1802. The premises were given at first to the Damenstift of St. Anna in Munich, but in 1829 came into the possession of the Saxon Baron Maximilian von Speck-Sternburg and then in 1858 were sold to Count Maximilian von Montgelas. Formerly in the diocese of Salzb ...
Founded: 1121 | Location: Neumarkt-Sankt Veit, 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

Attel Abbey

Attel Abbey was a monastery, originally of the Benedictines, later of the Brothers Hospitallers. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint Michael was founded as a Benedictine abbey by Count Arnold of Diessen-Andechs in around 1037. It was dissolved in 1803 in the secularisation of Bavaria. The abbey buildings were partly demolished, partly acquired by private owners. In 1874 the Bavarian government set ...
Founded: c. 1037 | Location: Attel, Germany

Geisenfeld Abbey

Count Eberhard II and his wife Adelheit founded Geisenfeld Abbey in 1030 after their three children had died leaving no descendants. It replaced a monastery in today"s Engelbrechtsmünster that had been destroyed around 955 AD by the Hungarians. The founders gave the abbey a lavish endowment. Instead of monks, as before, the Abbey was for use by nuns of the Order of Saint Benedict from noble families. It accommod ...
Founded: 1030 | Location: Geisenfeld, Germany

Oberalteich Abbey

Oberalteich Abbey, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, was founded in c. 1100 by Count Frederick of Bogen, a lord protector of Regensburg cathedral. After a serious fire in 1245 the premises were re-constructed under abbots Heimo (1247 to 1252) and Purchard (1256 to 1260). Under abbot Friedrich II (1346 to 1358) the abbey was fortified. The church was extensively altered in the time of abbot Johann II Asperger (1438 to 14 ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Oberalteich, 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

Thierhaupten Abbey

Thierhaupten Abbey, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, was founded in the late 8th century by Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria - the last of the Agilolfings, who was deposed by Charlemagne in 788. Under the Carolingian dynasty, the abbey became a possession of the Augsburg bishops. Its name Thierhaupten, which means 'beasts' heads' in German, is supposed to refer to a heathen shrine formerly on the site, possibly the remnants ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Thierhaupten, Germany

Ursberg Abbey

Ursberg Abbey is a former Premonstratensian monastery, now a convent of the Franciscan St. Joseph"s Congregation. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint John the Evangelist, was founded between 1126 and 1128 by the nobleman Wernher of Schwabegg-Balzhausen. It was the first Premonstratensian foundation in southern Germany. The monastery became an Imperial abbey in 1143. As was usual with early Premonstrate ...
Founded: 1126-1128 | Location: Ursberg, Germany

Hardehausen Abbey

In 1009 Herswithehusen (Hardehausen) became the property of Meinwerk, bishop of Paderborn. The abbey was founded in 1140 by bishop Bernhard I of Paderborn as a daughter house of Kamp Abbey on the Lower Rhine. Construction was completed with the dedication of the church in 1165. During the Thirty Years" War the abbey was looted and destroyed. During its reconstruction in the years 1680 to 1750 it received ...
Founded: 1140 | Location: Warburg, Germany

Aura Abbey

Aura Abbey was a house of the Benedictine Order located at Aura an der Saale. Built on the site of an earlier castle, and dedicated to Saints Laurence and Gregory, it was founded by Bishop Otto of Bamberg between about 1108 and 1113; the foundation charter is dated 1122. The new foundation was settled by monks from Hirsau Abbey. The first abbot was Ekkehard of Aura, a monk from Bamberg, famous as the continuer of the Welt ...
Founded: 1108-1122 | Location: Aura an der Saale, Germany

Sonnefeld Monastery

Sonnefeld Monastery, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, was founded in 1260 by Henry II von Sonneberg and his wife Kunigunde. The Monastery was at the beginning in Ebersdorf bei Coburg but, after a great fire in 1267, it was moved to Hofstädten. But the Monastery and its surrounding settlement and district adopted Sonnefeld as their names and kept it until 1889, when Sonnefeld and Hofstädten merged to become ...
Founded: 1260 | Location: Sonnefeld, Germany

Ahrensbök Charterhouse

Ahrensbök Charterhouse was a former Carthusian monastery or charterhouse established in 1397. The estates with which it was endowed reached as far as Scharbeutz on the Bay of Lübeck. During the Reformation the monastery was secularised, and with its estates fell into the hands of John II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg, in 1584, who had the buildings demolished. The building materials were used between ...
Founded: 1397 | Location: Ahrensbök, Germany

Rühn Abbey

Rühn Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery founded by Brunward, bishop of Schwerin in 1232. Already on May 29, 1292 the monastery was burned down completely. After reconstruction 30-40 nuns lived, prayed and worked there. After the Reformation Duke Ulrich gave the monastery to his wife Elisabeth. She founded in Rühn the first girls" school in Mecklenburg. Numerous renovations and extensions were made then ...
Founded: 1232 | Location: Rühn, Germany

Freiburg Charterhouse

Freiburg Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery founded in 1345 or 1346 by Johannes Schnewlin, knight, Bürgermeister of Freiburg. It was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, in honour of the Grande Chartreuse near Grenoble. In the early 16th century, the premises were extended by the addition of the refectory and the church, which was constructed in the Late Gothic style with ribbed vaulting and flying buttres ...
Founded: 1345 | Location: Freiburg, Germany

Heggbach Abbey

Heggbach Abbey was a Cistercian nunnery founded in 1231 Beguines from nearby Maselheim, close to a church whose dedication to Saint Pancras suggests may have been a proprietary church of the Counts of Berg. This church was supervised by Salem Abbey. The following year, the small convent at Heggbach was also put under the supervision of Salem Abbey. Between 1233 and 1244 Hekebach was incorporated into the Cistercian order ...
Founded: 1231 | Location: Maselheim, Germany

Kellenried Abbey

Kellenried Abbey is a Benedictine monastery of women founded by the Beuronese Congregation in 1924. The first nuns came from St. Gabriel's Abbey, Bertholdstein. The abbey was named after St. Erentraud of Salzburg, first Abbess of Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg. The abbey church was built in 1923–24 in the Baroque Revival style by Adolf J. Lorenz. In 1926 the monastery was raised to the status of an abbey. In 1940 the nuns ...
Founded: 1924 | Location: Kellenried, Germany

Kirchschletten Monastery

First mentioned in 1143, the Kirchschletten Monastery started as a feudal farm and belonged to the aristocracy until 1856. It became part of the monastery Niederalteich in 1917. There is an organic farm, a guest house and a candle manufacture on the grounds of the monastery.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kirchschletten, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of Our Lady before Týn

The Church of Our Lady before Týn is a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires.

In the 11th century, this area was occupied by a Romanesque church, which was built there for foreign merchants coming to the nearby Týn Courtyard. Later it was replaced by an early Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn in 1256. Construction of the present church began in the 14th century in the late Gothic style under the influence of Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler. By the beginning of the 15th century, construction was almost complete; only the towers, the gable and roof were missing. The church was controlled by Hussites for two centuries, including John of Rokycan, future archbishop of Prague, who became the church's vicar in 1427. The roof was completed in the 1450s, while the gable and northern tower were completed shortly thereafter during the reign of George of Poděbrady (1453–1471). His sculpture was placed on the gable, below a huge golden chalice, the symbol of the Hussites. The southern tower was not completed until 1511, under architect Matěj Rejsek.

After the lost Battle of White Mountain (1620) began the era of harsh recatholicisation (part of the Counter-Reformation). Consequently, the sculptures of 'heretic king' George of Poděbrady and the chalice were removed in 1626 and replaced by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, with a giant halo made from by melting down the chalice. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.

Renovation works carried out in 1876–1895 were later reversed during extensive exterior renovation works in the years 1973–1995. Interior renovation is still in progress.

The northern portal is a wonderful example of Gothic sculpture from the Parler workshop, with a relief depicting the Crucifixion. The main entrance is located on the church's western face, through a narrow passage between the houses in front of the church.

The early baroque altarpiece has paintings by Karel Škréta from around 1649. The oldest pipe organ in Prague stands inside this church. The organ was built in 1673 by Heinrich Mundt and is one of the most representative 17th-century organs in Europe.