Religious sites in Germany

Villingen Münster

Construction of the Villingen Münster first began in 1120. The late Romanesque church was rebuilt in around 1220. Heinrich von Fürstenberg chose the church as his burial site. In 1530, the dedication of the church was changed from John the Baptist to Mary and was consequently renamed "Church of our Lady".
Founded: 1120 | Location: Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany

Fürstenfeld Abbey

Fürstenfeld Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery in Fürstenfeldbruck. It was one of the household monasteries of the Wittelsbachs. The abbey church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is held to be a masterpiece of the late Baroque in southern Germany. In 1256, Louis II, Duke of Bavaria killed his first wife, Marie of Brabant (1226–1256) on suspicion of adultery, the penance for which, as imposed by Po ...
Founded: 1263 | Location: Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany

St. Giles' Church

St. Giles' Church is the smallest of the five major churches in Lübeck's Old Town and is adorned with Gothic wall paintings and elements from the Baroque and Renaissance periods. It is the smallest of the five major churches in Lübeck's Old Town and lies at the centre of the former craftsmen's district and Ackerbürger on the eastern slope of the town centre's hill towards Wakenitz. Today's three-naved hall church dat ...
Founded: 1227 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

St. Lorenz Basilica

St. Lorenz Basilica is a baroque minor Basilica and the former abbey church of the Benedictine Kempten Abbey. A church was built on the site in the 13th century but was burned down in 1478. Roman Giel of Gielsberg, the Abbot of Kempten, commissioned the master builder Michael Beer from Graubünden to build a new church to serve the parish and monastery. The foundation stone of the Basilica of St. Lawrence was laid on ...
Founded: 1652-1748 | Location: Kempten (Allgäu), Germany

Tegernsee Abbey

Tegernsee Abbey, officially known as St. Quirinus Abbey for its patron saint St. Quirinus, was founded either in 746 or around 765 AD. It was settled by monks from St. Gall and dedicated to Saint Quirinus of Rome, whose relics were brought here from Rome in 804. Soon, the monastery spread the message of Christianity as far as the Tyrol and Lower Austria. Until 1803, it was the most important Benedictine community in Bavar ...
Founded: 746-765 AD | Location: Tegernsee, Germany

Säckingen Abbey

Säckingen Abbey is a former Roman Catholic abbey founded in the 6th or 7th century by Fridolin of Säckingen, an Irish monk. While the Abbey had both monks and nuns, only the nuns" convent grew to be an important religious, economic and cultural institution for the entire upper Rhine. Little is known about the early history of the Abbey before the 9th century. On 10 February 878, the Emperor Charles the Fat ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Bad Säckingen, Germany

Lehnin Abbey

Lehnin Abbey was founded by the Ascanian margrave Otto I of Brandenburg in 1180, 23 years after his father, late Albert the Bear had finally defeated the Slavic prince Jaxa of Köpenick and established the Brandenburg margraviate in 1157. According to legend, Otto, while hunting at the site, had fallen asleep beneath a giant oak, when a white deer appeared to him in a dream, whose furious attacks he could only ward off by ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Lehnin, Germany

St. Michael Church

St. Michael’s, one of the main churches in Lüneburg, is a good example of the red-brick hall churches of Northern Germany. In AD 956 the Holy-Roman emperor, Otto I, presented the Benedictine Abbey with the income from customs deriving from the extraction of the salt, which later made Lüneburg both famous and extremely wealthy. St. Michael’s was at that time part of the castle of the Billunger ducal family, which wa ...
Founded: 1376-1412 | Location: Lüneburg, Germany

Ottobeuren Abbey

Ottobeuren Abbey was one of the self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire and, as such, was a virtually independent state. It was originally founded in 764 by Blessed Toto, and dedicated to St. Alexander, the martyr. Of its early history little is known beyond the fact that Toto, its first abbot, died about 815 and that Saint Ulrich was its abbot in 972. In the 11th century its discipline was on the decline, un ...
Founded: 764 AD | Location: Ottobeuren, Germany

Herford Abbey Church

Herford Abbey was the oldest women"s religious house in the Duchy of Saxony. It was founded as a house of secular canonesses in 789, but moved later to the present site. The city of Herford grew up on this site around the abbey. The abbey was dedicated in 832 and was elevated to the status of a Reichsabtei ('Imperial abbey') under Emperor Louis the Pious (d. 840). Between 919 and 924 Herford was des ...
Founded: 832 AD | Location: Herford, Germany

St. Augustine's Monastery

The church and monastery of the Augustinian hermits in Erfurt was built around 1300. Martin Luther, the famous Augustinian monk, was admitted to the monastery on 17 July 1505. The Augustinian Monastery pays tribute to Martin Luther with a new exhibition. The Lutherzelle (Luther's cell) can be visited as part of the exhibition. Since 1988 the monastery has been used as an ecumenical conference centre and a memorial to Luth ...
Founded: 1300 | Location: Erfurt, Germany

Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers

The Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers (Basilika Vierzehnheiligen) is a late Baroque-Rococo church, designed by Balthasar Neumann and constructed between 1743 and 1772. It is dedicated to the Fourteen Holy Helpers, a group of saints venerated together in the Catholic Church, especially in Germany at the time of the Black Death. The Basilica faces the important German river Main in Franconia. It sits on a hillside, and ...
Founded: 1743-1772 | Location: Bad Staffelstein, Germany

St. Peter's Abbey

St Peter"s Abbey in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) is a former Benedictine monastery. The monastic community was the house monastery and burial place of the Zähringen family. It was originally founded in Weilheim, in or before 1073, but was forced by hostile military action during the Investiture Controversy to move to Hirsau. Duke Berthold II of Zähringen (1078–1111) re-founded it as a family monaste ...
Founded: 1073 | Location: Sankt Peter, Germany

Imperial Abbey of Corvey

The Imperial Abbey of Corvey or Princely Abbey of Corvey was a Benedictine abbey. The site is located along the Weser River on the outskirts of Höxter where the Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey were erected between AD 822 and 885 in a largely preserved rural setting. The Westwork (monumental, west-facing entrance) is the only standing structure that dates back to the Carolingian era, while the original imperial ab ...
Founded: 844 AD | Location: Corvey, Germany

St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas Church (Greifswalder Dom St. Nikolai) is a Brick Gothic church located in the western part of the centre of Greifswald. The first written sources referring to a church dedicated to St. Nicholas in Greifswald are from 1263. The oldest extant parts of the church have been dated to the last third of the 13th century. In 1385 work was begun on a new choir with a straight eastern wall, which was finished in 13 ...
Founded: c. 1263 | Location: Greifswald, Germany

Cologne Synagogue

Since 1899, the neo-Romanesque synagogue on Roonstraße has been the largest religious and cultural centre for the Jewish communities in Cologne. After being burned down by the Nazis on 9 November 1938, the synagogue was rebuilt between 1957 and 1959. The building’s main front has three arched portals and a large gabled façade with a centrally positioned rose window. In 2005 Benedict XVI became the first pope to visit ...
Founded: 1899 | Location: Cologne, Germany

Saint James' Church

The Gothic St. Jakobikirche (Saint James" Church) was constructed as the last of the major parish churches at the beginning of the 14th century on the former divide between Stralsund’s old and new city sections. This church distinguishes itself significantly from the other church buildings in the city through its various glazed shaped stonework and the ornamental decorations on the screens and friezes. It is cu ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Stralsund, Germany

St. Nicholas Church Ruins

The St. Nicholas Church in Bautzen was built at the beginning of the 15th century. It was destroyed and devastated during the siege of 1620 and Thirty Years" War. In the church ruins a small chapel is integrated.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Bautzen, Germany

Monastic Island of Reichenau

The island of Reichenau on Lake Constance preserves the traces of the Benedictine monastery, founded in 724, which exercised remarkable spiritual, intellectual and artistic influence. The churches of St Mary and Marcus, St Peter and St Paul, and St George, mainly built between the 9th and 11th centuries, provide a panorama of early medieval monastic architecture in central Europe. Their wall paintings bear witness to impr ...
Founded: 724 AD | Location: Insel Reichenau, Germany

Herrenchiemsee Abbey

According to tradition, the Benedictine abbey of Herrenchiemsee was established about 765 by Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria at the northern tip of the Herreninsel. New findings however indicate an even earlier foundation around 620-629 by the missionary Saint Eustace of Luxeuil. In 969 Emperor Otto I consigned the abbey to the Archbishops of Salzburg, who in about 1130 re-established Herrenchiemsee as a monastery of Canons ...
Founded: 7th century AD | Location: Chiemsee, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.