Religious sites in Germany

Heisterbach Abbey Ruins

Heisterbach Abbey was a Cistercian monastery in the Siebengebirge near Oberdollendorf. The tradition of its origin is that a knight named Walther lived as a hermit on the Stromberg, also known as the Petersberg, one of the mountains forming the Siebengebirge. When numerous disciples began to settle near his cell, he built a monastery in 1134, where the community lived according to the Rule of St. Augustine. After t ...
Founded: 1189 | Location: Oberdollendorf, Germany

St. Paul's Church

St. Paul"s Chapter Church was built by Bishop Burchard (who also built the first Worms Cathedral) in 1002. It was originally a three-naved buttress basilica. A Dominican monastery was added in 1226. Also in the 13th century, the stone dome-shaped tower roofs were added in the Byzantine style of Jerusalem"s churches. These make the church a visible monument to the Crusades. The Pauluskirche was desconsecrated a ...
Founded: 1002 | Location: Worms, Germany

Burgkirche

The Burgkirche ('castle church') is one of the largest and most imposing fortified churches in western Germany. The church is surrounded by a cemetery, which is surrounded by walls. The Romanesque tower of the church with Gothic battlements and turrets is the oldest part of the church, which was built in several phases in the late Gothic period. The restored stained glass windows and paintings in vaults - both from the 15 ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ingelheim am Rhein, Germany

Heilsbronn Abbey Church

Heilsbronn Abbey was a Cistercian monastery at Heilsbronn founded in 1132–33 by Saint Otto of Bamberg. It was settled by monks from Ebrach Abbey, under the first abbot Rapotho. It was one of the wealthiest monasteries of Germany, with possessions around Franconia as far as Regensburg and in Württemberg. These rich endowments were mostly made by the dukes of Abenberg and their heirs, the Hohenzollern Burgraves of Nuremb ...
Founded: 1132 | Location: Heilsbronn, Germany

St. Maria zur Höhe Church

St. Maria zur Höhe Church was founded around 1180 and remodelled later. It has an beautiful interior containing Byzantine influenced frescoes (the influence was brought to Westphalia by crusaders) and a strange wooden cross from 1200.
Founded: c.1180 | Location: Soest, Germany

St. Matthias' Abbey

St. Matthias" Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in Trier. The abbey church, a Romanesque basilica, is a renowned place of pilgrimage because of the tomb of Saint Matthias the Apostle, after whom the abbey is named, located here since the 12th century, and the only burial of an apostle in Germany and north of the Alps. The abbey was originally named after Saint Eucharius, first Bishop of Trier, whose tomb is in the cry ...
Founded: 977 AD | Location: Trier, Germany

Rottenburg Cathedral

St. Martin"s Cathedral has been the cathedral of Rottenburg since 1821. Its tower, dating from 1486, is its most prominent feature. It was reconstructed in 1644-1655 after a fire in Baroque style.
Founded: 1486 | Location: Rottenburg am Neckar, Germany

Prenzlau Abbey

The Dominican monastery at Prenzlau was founded in 1275, joining an existing Franciscan monastery and the Nunnery of Mary Magdalen. The monastery was thus a further spiritual centre serving Prenzlau"s citizens, playing an important role in the growth of the town and ensuring its significance in the medieval Mark of Brandenburg. The Dominican monastery"s compound comprises the monastic church and the originally ...
Founded: 1275 | Location: Prenzlau, Germany

Werden Abbey

Near Essen Saint Ludger founded a monastery in 799 and became its first abbot. The little church which Saint Ludger built here in honor of Saint Stephen was completed in 804 and dedicated by Saint Ludger himself, who had meanwhile become Bishop of Münster. Upon the death of Ludger on 26 March 809, the abbacy of Werden passed by inheritance first to his younger brother Hildigrim I (809–827), then successively to ...
Founded: 799 AD | Location: Essen, Germany

Rottenbuch Abbey Church

Rottenbuch Abbey was founded as an Augustinian monastery in 1073 on land granted by Duke Welf I of Bavaria. The Abbey church was constructed between 1085 and 1125 in the Romanesque style. The design of a crossing transept and free-standing tower is unusual for a Bavarian church. Rottenbuch was a center of papal loyalty during the Investiture Controversy. Under the patronage of Emperor Louis the Bavarian in the 14th centur ...
Founded: 1073 | Location: Rottenbuch, Germany

Schussenried Abbey

Schussenried Abbey was a Premonstratensian monastery founded by the local landowners, Berengar and Konrad of Schussenried in 1183. It was settled from the Premonstratensian Rot an der Rot Abbey. Pope Innocent III granted it his protection and guaranteed its immunity by a privilege of 13 February 1211. It acquired substantial endowments and built up a considerable territory, and was declared an imperial abbey (i.e., territ ...
Founded: 1183 | Location: Bad Schussenried, Germany

Amorbach Abbey

Amorbach Abbey was one of four Carolingian foundations intended to establish Christianity in the region of the Odenwald. It is said to take its name from Amor, a disciple of Saint Pirmin, regarded as the founder. The abbey was consecrated in 734. By 800 it had become a Reichsabtei, the abbot being directly answerable to Charlemagne. Pepin united it to the Bishopric of Würzburg, although control of it was much dispute ...
Founded: 734 AD | Location: Amorbach, Germany

St. Peter and St. Paul's Church

St. Peter and Paul is a Gothic church in the quarter of Detwang in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The most important piece of artwork in the church is the crucifixion reredos by Tilman Riemenschneider. Only fragments of the crucifixion copies have survived to the present day. It depicts the crucifixion of Christ but there is no record of its origin. However, it has been attributed to Tilman Riemenschneider and his worksho ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Güstrow Cathedral

Güstrow Cathedral is a Brick Gothic Lutheran cathedral initially completed in 1335. It is the oldest extant building in Barlachstadt Güstrow. The church was originally dedicated by the Bishop of Kammin. The cathedral"s charter was removed in 1552, and the cathedral fell into disuse and was used to house vehicles for 12 years. In 1568 it began to be used as an evangelical palace chapel and resting place for ...
Founded: 1335 | Location: Güstrow, Germany

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary"s, the chief parish church in Prenzlau, is a High Brick Gothic building with a three-aisled hall and three polythagonal chapels on the church"s eastern site. St. Mary"s dual towers dwarf the town; the legendary gables featuring elaborate tracery are worthy of a cathedral. Excavations have shown that this replaced an earlier church on the site (1235-1250), a vaulted three aisled hall church with a t ...
Founded: 1235-1250 | Location: Prenzlau, Germany

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary’s Church in Barth is a brick church built around 1300 and it was mentioned for the first time in 1325. The church was created in 3 building phases, where the choir to the east is its oldest part and built in the early Gothic style. The organ, which was created by the Berlin organ builder Buchholz and his son, promises a unique sound and is one of the particularly valuable organ monuments in Germany. Its sp ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Barth, Germany

St. Gangolf's Church

St. Gangolf is the oldest of Bamberg"s churches and comprises several styles. The parish church, a former convent of canons, was built in the 12th century under bishop Otto the Holy in a romanesque style and converted into a gothic style around 1400. It later received baroque furnishings and today boasts a romanesque nave, a gothic choir, rococo altars and a modern altar, thus spanning many centuries.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Cologne Charterhouse

Cologne Charterhouse (Kölner Kartause) was a Carthusian monastery established in 1334. The monastery developed into the largest charterhouse in Germany until it was forcibly dissolved in 1794 by the invading French Revolutionary troops. The building complex was then neglected until World War II, when it was mostly destroyed. The present building complex is very largely a post-war reconstruction. Since 1928 the Cart ...
Founded: 1334 | Location: Cologne, Germany

St. Peter's Church

The first churches on site of St. Peter's Church were built during the Middle Ages (1128-1369), with famous church leader Bishop Otto von Bamberg resident in 1128, with services and baptisms being held in Wolgast. von Bamberg ordered the razing of the Pagan temple on the site and the construction of the first church, which is thought to have been comprised of wooden polls. With the conferral of a town charter by nearby po ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Wolgast, Germany

Kastl Abbey

Kastl Abbey, dedicated to Saint Peter, was founded in 1103 or shortly before by Count Berengar II of Sulzbach together with Frederick and Otto, Counts of Kastl-Habsberg. It was dissolved in 1563 in the course of the Reformation, but re-established as a Catholic monastery in 1625. From 1636 the building was used by the Jesuits, from 1773 by the Knights Hospitallers. Dissolved again in 1803, it was the seat of the Provinci ...
Founded: 1103 | Location: Kastl, 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.