Religious sites in Germany

Heilig-Kreuz-Münster

The Holy Cross Minster (Heilig-Kreuz-Münster) is the main Catholic church in Schwäbisch Gmünd. It stands on the site of a former, much smaller romanesque church. It took about 500 years to be completed, though not consecutively. Initial construction began around 1325 under the leadership of an unknown master builder on what was left of the previous romanesque church, the towers of which were still standing. In 1497, th ...
Founded: 1325 | Location: Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary"s Church was built from 1247–1343 and is one of the most distinct Gothic buildings in Swabia. Between the 1520s and 1540s the church was a center of the Swabian reformer Matthäus Alber, who spread the teachings of Martin Luther to Reutlingen and surrounding areas. The church was heavily damaged during a fire in 1726. From 1893-1901 it was rebuilt in Neo-Gothic style. On the 71-meter high west towe ...
Founded: 1247-1343 | Location: Reutlingen, Germany

Salvatorkirche

Salvatorkirche was completed in 1415 and form an impressive architectural ensemble alongside the near twentieth-century town hall. The church is known as the final resting place of Flemish-born cartographer Gerhard Mercator (1512-1594). 
Founded: 1415 | Location: Duisburg, Germany

Lorsch Abbey

The religious complex represented by the former Lorsch Abbey with its 1,200-year-old gatehouse, which is unique and in excellent condition, comprises a rare architectural document of the Carolingian era with impressively preserved sculpture and painting of that period. It gives architectural evidence of the awakening of the West to the spirit of the early and high Middle Ages under the first king and emperor, Charlemagne. ...
Founded: 764 AD | Location: Lorsch, Germany

St. Moritz Church

Begun in the mid-14th century and completed in 1489, Moritzkirche is a Gothic basilica with a 14th-15th century watchtower.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ingolstadt, Germany

Comburg Abbey

Comburg was a Benedictine monastery founded in the late 1070s by the Counts of Comburg-Rothenburg on the site of their castle. The first monks were from Brauweiler Abbey, but in the 1080s an abbot from Hirsau Abbey was appointed, and this brought Comburg into the movement of the Hirsau Reforms. The monks of Comburg were exclusively of noble birth, and accordingly resisted the Benedictine reforms of the 15th century, unde ...
Founded: 1070s | Location: Comburg, Germany

Ebrach Abbey

The former Cistercian monastery in Ebrach is a famous and popular destination. Having a wonderful and unique rose window, the Gothic church is one of the region’s great highlights, along with its Baroque monastic buildings. Ebrach was probably the most important front post for the cultural and spiritual development of the regions west for Bamberg and the Steigerwald area. The abbey, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Sa ...
Founded: 1126-1127 | Location: Ebrach, Germany

St. Blaise Abbey

St. Blaise Abbey (Kloster St. Blasien) was a Benedictine monastery. The early history of the abbey is obscure. Its predecessor in the 9th century is supposed to have been a cell of Rheinau Abbey, known as cella alba (the 'white cell'), but the line of development between that and the confirmed existence of St Blaise"s Abbey in the 11th century is unclear. At some point the new foundation would have had to b ...
Founded: 11th/18th century | Location: Sankt Blasien, Germany

Münsterschwarzach Abbey

Münsterschwarzach Abbey, dedicated to the Holy Saviour, the Virgin Mary and Saint Felicity, was founded before 788 as a nunnery. It was a private foundation of the Carolingian ruling house: the abbesses were daughters of the imperial family, for example Theodrada (d. 853), a daughter of Charlemagne. After the death of the last Carolingian abbess, Bertha, in 877, the nuns left the abbey and it was taken over by Benedi ...
Founded: 788 AD | Location: Münsterschwarzach, Germany

Zwiefalten Abbey

Zwiefalten Abbey was a Benedictine monastery founded in 1089 at the time of the Investiture Controversy by Counts Gero and Kuno of Achalm, advised by Bishop Adalbero of Würzburg and Abbot William of Hirsau. The first monks were also from Hirsau Abbey, home of the Hirsau Reforms (under the influence of the Cluniac reforms), which strongly influenced the new foundation. Noker von Zwiefalten was the first abbot and led from ...
Founded: 1089 | Location: Zwiefalten, Germany

St. Amandus Church

The Church of Saint Amandus dates from 1477 and was built in the Gothic style for Eberhard the Bearded. His lavish praying desk dates from 1472. The pulpit is decorated with figures of the saints and church fathers and is considered an important piece of German stonemasonry. The 1518 baptismal font is by the sculptor Christoph von Urach.
Founded: 1477 | Location: Bad Urach, Germany

Church of the Redeemer

The Protestant Church of the Redeemer (Heilandskirche) is famous for its Italian Romanesque Revival architecture with a separate campanile (bell tower) and for its scenic location. It was built in 1844. The design was based on drawings by King Frederick William IV of Prussia, called the Romantic on the Throne. The building was realized by Ludwig Persius, the king"s favorite architect. The church is situated on the ba ...
Founded: 1844 | Location: Potsdam, Germany

Worms Jewish Cemetery

The Jewish Cemetery in Worms is usually called the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in Europe. The Jewish community of Worms was established by the early eleventh century, and the oldest tombstone still legible dates from 1058/59. The cemetery was closed in 1911, when a new cemetery was inaugurated. Some family burials continued until the late 1930s. The older part contains still about 1300 tombstones, the newer part (on ...
Founded: 1058 | Location: Worms, Germany

Memorial Church

The Gedächtniskirche der Protestation ("The Memorial Church of the Protestation") was built between 1893 and 1904. It was constructed in memory of the protest that took place at the Diet of Speyer by the Protestant states of the Holy Roman Empire in 1529. The tower is the tallest bell tower in the palatinate with 100 m. Its construction was supposed to be a reminder of the protest action that the imperial e ...
Founded: 1893-1904 | Location: Speyer, Germany

Pilgrimage Church Käppele

Käppele is the commonly used name for the church Wallfahrtskirche Mariä Heimsuchung in Würzburg. It was built following plans by Balthasar Neumann in the mid-18th century in Rococo style. It serves as a pilgrimage church and until 2014 was attended to by members of the Capuchins. The name Käppele is derived from the German word Kapelle (chapel). Originally, a local fisher erected a pietà in what was then a vineyard ...
Founded: 1748 | Location: Würzburg, Germany

St. Mary's Church

Begun as a three-aisle hall church at about the same time as the town Ribnitz was founded, the oldest pre-Romanesque parts of the St. Mary"s Church are located in the western outer wall of the building. Pilister corner strips, a rounded frieze and lanset windows are amongst other remanents of this first church. In the 14th century, the church was enlarged by the addition of two bays, and decorated by the addition of ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ribnitz, Germany

Hirsau Abbey

Hirsau Abbey was once one of the most important Benedictine abbeys of Germany. In the 11th and 12th century, the monastery was a centre of the Cluniac Reforms, implemented as 'Hirsau Reforms' in the German lands. The complex was devastated during the War of the Palatine Succession in 1692 and not rebuilt. A Christian chapel at Hirsau dedicated to Saint Nazarius had already been erected in the late 8th century. The monast ...
Founded: 830 AD | Location: Hirsau, Germany

Ingolstadt Münster

Ingolstadt Münster, built in the 15th century, is one of the largest Gothic brick buildings in Bavaria. Inside, the mighty cathedral houses altars, valuable stone reliefs and figures, paintings and wood carvings. The high altar (1572) commemorates the centenary of the foundation of Ingolstadt"s university.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ingolstadt, Germany

Gladbach Abbey

Gladbach Abbey was a Benedictine abbey founded in 974 by Archbishop Gero of Cologne and the monk Sandrad from Trier. It was named after the Gladbach, a narrow brook that now runs underground. The abbey and its adjoining villages grew into the town of Gladbach, incorporated in the 1360s, the origin of the present city of Mönchengladbach in North Rhine-Westphalia. In 1802 the abbey was occupied by troops under th ...
Founded: 974 AD | Location: Mönchengladbach, Germany

Jesuit Church

The Jesuit church was built between 1733 in 1756 as the Court Church of the Mannheim electors Charles Philip III and Charles Theodore to a design of the Italian architect Alessandro Galli da Bibiena. It was completed in 1760 and consecrated to St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier by the Prince Bishop of Augsburg, Joseph of Hesse-Darmstadt. Features of the exterior are the twin towered facade of red sandstone, th ...
Founded: 1733-1756 | Location: Mannheim, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.