Religious sites in Germany

St. Martin's Church

St. Martin's Church in Biberach was built in 1337-1366 and served as the parish church of Biberach before the Reformation. With the conversion of almost the entire population of the town to Lutheran Protestantism, the church was used for Lutheran services. Then, in 1548 the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V ordered that Catholic services be resumed. The solution was to divide the church, with Catholic services held in the form ...
Founded: 1337-1366 | Location: Biberach an der Riß, Germany

Brauweiler Abbey

Brauweiler Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery, founded and endowed in 1024 by Pfalzgraf Ezzo, count palatine of Lotharingia of the Ezzonian dynasty and his wife Matilda of Germany, a daughter of Emperor Otto II and Theophano. Ezzo and Matilda were buried here, as were their two eldest sons Liudolf, Count Palatine of Lotharingia (d. 1031) and Otto II, Duke of Swabia (d. 1047). From 1065 until his deat ...
Founded: 1024 | Location: Brauweiler, Germany

Salem Abbey

Salem Abbey was a very prominent Cistercian monastery founded in 1136 by Gunthram of Adelsreute (d. 1138) as a daughter house of Lützel Abbey in Alsace. Blessed Frowin of Bellevaux, formerly the travelling companion and interpreter of Bernard of Clairvaux, became the first abbot of Salem. The abbey soon became very prosperous. Extensive and magnificent buildings, erected in three squares, and a splendid church were cons ...
Founded: 1136 | Location: Salem, Germany

Kamp Abbey

Kamp Abbey was the first Cistercian monastery founded in German territory. It was founded in 1123 by Friedrich I, Archbishop of Cologne, and settled from Morimond Abbey. As the first Cistercian foundation in the region it attracted great endowments and became very wealthy and powerful. It was extremely active in the foundation of daughter houses. Kamp was largely rebuilt in the 15th century but suffered extensive d ...
Founded: 1123 | Location: Kamp-Lintfort, Germany

Füssen Franciscan Monastery

The Franciscan Monastery was inaugurated in 1628, but damaged already in 1632 by the Swedish army. The restoration took place in the late 1600 and the new wing dates from 1712. The church of St. Stephen was built between 1763-1767. The monastery is the official end of the Romantic Road – a sign is available for photographic proof of a visit. However, the main reason to visit is the fine views that can be enjoyed fr ...
Founded: 1628 | Location: Füssen, Germany

All Saints Abbey Ruins

All Saints' Abbey (Kloster Allerheiligen) was a Premonstratensian monastery founded around 1192 when a wooden chapel was built, which was gradually extended to be a monastery. In 1196 the foundation charter was issued by Duchess Uta of Schauenburg. In 1200 Philip of Swabia recognised the foundation, and in 1204 Pope Innocent III confirmed it. The first abbot was Gerung. In 1248 canons from All Saints were sent to Lorsch ...
Founded: 1192 | Location: Oppenau, Germany

Banz Abbey

Banz Abbey, now known as Schloss Banz, is a former Benedictine monastery. It was founded in about 1070 by Countess Alberada of Schweinfurt and her husband, Count Hermann of Habsberg-Kastl, and until the secularisation of 1803 was the oldest monastery on the upper Main. In the late Middle Ages and until 1575 only members of the nobility were accepted as monks. After the Thirty Years" War the abbey had to be re-built. ...
Founded: c. 1070 | Location: Bad Staffelstein, Germany

St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas Church (St. Nikolai Kirche) construction was started around 1230, making the building the second oldest church on the island. The size of the church was increased in 1470 and in 1508 the tower of the church was built. There is a bronze font in the church which dates from 1391. It is not certain how it arrived at the church, but the casting carried an inscription which records that the font was given by Korp ...
Founded: c. 1230 | Location: Burg auf Fehmarn, Germany

Michaelsberg Abbey

Michaelsberg Abbey is situated on the Michaelsberg ('St. Michael's Mount'), about 40 metres above the town of Siegburg. The hill was first inhabited about 800 by the Counts of Auelgau, who built a castle there. In 1064 the Archbishop of Cologne, Anno II of Cologne, founded a monastery there, dedicated to the Archangel Michael, from whom both the mountain and the abbey henceforward took their names. He appointed the ...
Founded: 1064 | Location: Siegburg, Germany

Irsee Abbey

The Imperial Abbey of Irsee is a former Benedictine abbey, now a conference and training centre for Bavarian Swabia. According to tradition, the monastery, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was founded in 1182 by Margrave Heinrich von Ursin-Ronsberg, to house a community that had grown up around a local hermit. The monastery was first established at the long-abandoned Burg Ursin, the margrave"s ancestral castle, where S ...
Founded: 1182 | Location: Irsee, Germany

Eibingen Abbey

Eibingen Abbey (in German Abtei St. Hildegard) is Benedictine nunnery, originally founded in 1165 by Hildegard von Bingen. It was dissolved at the beginning of the 19th century during the secularization of this part of Germany. The present community was established by Charles, 6th Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg in 1904 and re-settled from St. Gabriel's Abbey, Bertholdstein. The nunnery belongs to the Beuronese C ...
Founded: 1900-1904 | Location: Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

Altenkirchen Parish Church

The Protestant parish church at Altenkirchen is one of the oldest church buildings on the island of Rügen. The predecessor of the current church could have been a Slavic burial mound. Soon after the Christianization Danish builders erected a three-nave Romanesque church in 1168. The apse and choir were completed in 1200 and the baptismal font in 1240. There is also a triumphal cross from the 14th century. The freesta ...
Founded: 1168 | Location: Altenkirchen, Germany

Limburg Abbey Ruins

In the 9th century, the Salian Dukes from Worms built a fortress on the Linthberg as their family seat. In the early 11th century, the fortress was converted into a Limburg monastery with a basilica. It existed until the mid-16th century, today impressive ruins remains.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bad Dürkheim, Germany

Backnang Abbey Church

The Abbey of Saint Pancras of Backnang was founded before 1116 by Herman I, Margrave of Baden, and his wife, Countess Judith of Backnang-Sulichgau. Pope Paschal I confirmed the foundation in 1116. As early as 1123, though, the monastery had to be revived by their son, Margrave Herman II, with the help of canons from Marbach Abbey in Alsace. Between 1123 and 1243 the abbey was the burial place of the Zähringen Margra ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Backnang, Germany

Seeon Abbey

Seeon Abbey was a Benedictine monastery founded in 994 by Pfalzgraf Aribo I of Bavaria and settled by Benedictine monks from St. Emmeram"s Abbey, Regensburg. The monastery is on an island in the lake Seeoner See. The abbey soon developed a significant scriptorium, producing manuscripts not only for the abbey"s own use but also for other monasteries and churches. Their most important client was Emperor Henry II, ...
Founded: 994 AD | Location: Seeon-Seebruck, Germany

Petershausen Abbey

Petershausen Abbey was founded as an exempt abbey named after Saint Peter in 983 by Bishop Gebhard of Constance, located on the northern shore of the Rhine river opposite to the episcopal residence at Constance with its cathedral. Gebhard dedicated the monastery church to Pope Gregory the Great and settled the abbey with monks descending from Einsiedeln. Under Bishop Gebhard III of Zähringen and Abbot Theodoric (108 ...
Founded: 983 AD | Location: Konstanz, Germany

Wiblingen Abbey

Wiblingen Abbey was a former Benedictine abbey which was later used as barracks. Today its buildings house several departments of the medical faculty of the University of Ulm and is part of the Upper Swabian Baroque Route. Wiblingen Abbey was founded in 1093 by the counts Hartmann and Otto von Kirchberg. The counts offered monks of St. Blaise"s Abbey in the Black Forest lands near the river Iller, which the monks us ...
Founded: 1093 | Location: Ulm, Germany

Herrenalb Abbey

Herrenalb Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery founded probably in 1147 or 1148 by Count Berthold of Eberstein. The new monastery was settled by monks from Neubourg Abbey in Alsace. The abbey owned scattered estates and communities in the Alb valley in the northern Black Forest. The abbey was however never able to concentrate its lands so as to maximise their economic potential, and never became particularly wealthy. T ...
Founded: c. 1147 | Location: Bad Herrenalb, Germany

Steingaden Abbey

Dedicated to John the Baptist, the Steingaden abbey was founded in 1147 as a Premonstratensian house by Welf VI, third son of Henry the Black, Duke of Bavaria, and brother of Duke Henry the Proud. The first monks and their abbot came from the Premonstratensian Rot an der Rot Abbey. The Romanesque abbey church was dedicated in 1176. Between 1470 and 1491 the abbey buildings were refurbished under Abbot Caspar Suiter in the ...
Founded: 1147/1663 | Location: Steingaden, Germany

Lorch Church

The Gothic parish church in Lorch was first built in the 13th century and it is dedicated to St. Martin. The tower dates from 1576. The wooden altar (1483) is worth of seeing. There is also an early Gothic cruficix from the 13th century and font from 1464.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lorch, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.