Religious sites in Germany

Barth Abbey

Barth Abbey was originally a castle built around 1573 by Bogislaw XIII. After his departure, the castle was neglected, damaged in the various wars and was repaired only in a makeshift manner. In 1710/1711, it served as a court venue for the last time. After 1722, the Swedish King gave the ruins of the castle to the Swedish-Western Pomeranian knights as a present. From 1733 to 1741, the baroque building complex of the Aris ...
Founded: 1573 | Location: Barth, Germany

Polling Abbey

According to legend, the founder of Polling Abbey was Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria in about 750, but it seems more likely that the founders were members of the powerful Bavarian noble family of the Huosi. Initially this was a Benedictine monastery, but later became a house of Augustinian canons. The abbey was dissolved during the secularization of 1803 and the buildings were mostly demolished between 1805 and 1807. The i ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Polling, Germany

Rehna Abbey

Rehna Abbey is a former Benedictine (the 13th century) and Premonstratensian nunnery (until 1552). It was founded between 1230 and 1236. In 1254 the monastery was inaugurated and this year also began the construction of the cloister between church and convent. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the monastery was one of the most important monasteries Mecklenburg. Numerous Lübeck families had their daughters educated there an ...
Founded: 1230-1254 | Location: Rehna, Germany

Lichtenthal Abbey

Lichtenthal Abbey is a Cistercian nunnery founded in 1245 by Irmengard bei Rhein, widow of Margrave Hermann V of Baden. Her body was brought here in 1248 from Backnang Abbey for re-burial. She seriously over-reached herself financially on the project, however, and was obliged to ask her family for help. The imposing gateway, built in 1781, leads into a three-sided walled courtyard with a fountain dedicated to the Blessed ...
Founded: 1245 | Location: Lichtental, Germany

Engelberg Abbey

Engelberg Abbey is a Franciscan monastery located on the hill above the town of Grossheubach. The hill spur on which the abbey is situated was likely used in prehistoric times as a cult site. Around 1300, a chapel dedicated to St. Michael was built there and a statue of Mary erected. The likely location of this chapel was where the choir of today"s church stands. The first documented pilgrimage occurred in 1406. In 1469, ...
Founded: 1630s | Location: Grossheubach, Germany

Altomünster Abbey

A small monastery was founded in Altomünster by Saint Alto, a wandering monk, in about 750. The vita of Alto, likely written by Otloh of St. Emmeram after 1056 and ostensibly based on oral knowledge (written lore having been lost through plunder), reports that the monastery was visited by Saint Boniface, who dedicated the church. Another 11th-century text notes that Boniface also dedicated the church in nearby Benedi ...
Founded: 750 AD | Location: Altomünster, Germany

St. Mary's Church

The chapel created in 1291 by Cistercian monks assumed its present shape in 1440 when it was rebuilt as a St. Mary"s brick church. The half-timber framed nave (oak beams with brick fillings) was constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries with the choir annex added in the 18th century. Later restoration works served to expose paintings from around 1470 on the walls and the triumphal arch. The oldest decorative feature ...
Founded: 1440 | Location: Waase, Germany

Cismar Abbey

Cismar Abbey was a Benedictine monastery founded in 1238 by Count Adolf IV of Holstein as alternative accommodation for Benedictine monks from Lübeck. In the mid-15th century it was one of the six original members of the influential Bursfelde Congregation, a Benedictine reform movement. After three prosperous centuries, based largely on its possession of a relic of the blood of Christ and a healing spring dedicated t ...
Founded: 1238 | Location: Cismar, Germany

St. Nicholas' Cathedral

St. Nicholas" Cathedral is a significant, well preserved example of northern German Late Brick Gothic; the church features three aisles, two transepts and a single-aisled ambulatory. Particularly impressive is the church"s northern tiered gable. The church features 22 stained glass features considered to be treasures of international significance, a feature of the cathedral elevating the building to a heritage s ...
Founded: 1188 | Location: Stendal, Germany

Waldsassen Abbey

Waldsassen Abbey was founded by Gerwich of Wolmundstein, a Benedictine monk of Sigeberg Abbey, with the permission of his former abbot Kuno, then Bishop of Regensburg, and built between 1128 and 1132. The original community was sent to Waldsassen from Volkenroda Abbey in Thuringia, of the line of Morimond Abbey. The first abbot was elected in 1133, making this one of the earliest Cistercian foundations. Soon the abbey be ...
Founded: 1128-1132 | Location: Waldsassen, Germany

St. John's Church

St. John’s Church in Schaprode from the early 13th century is one of the oldest buildings in the area. The Romanesque choir with the apse and parts of the Eastern wall of the (formerly) three-aisle nave have been preserved in their original state. The four-bay, rib-vaulted nave was constructed after 1450. The oldest features include tomb slabs from 1369 and 1403. The late Gothic triumphal cross ensemble on the roof ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Schaprode, Germany

Aldersbach Abbey

Aldersbach Abbey was founded in 1127 by Saint Otto, Bishop of Bamberg, as a community of Augustinian Canons. It is located on a site near a church consecrated in 880 by Englmar, Bishop of Passau, in honour of Saint Peter. In 1146 Egilbert, the successor of Otto, gave the foundation and a new church of Our Lady to the Cistercians, and after the departure of the canons, Abbot Sefried, with monks from Ebrach Abbey, took poss ...
Founded: 1127 | Location: Aldersbach, Germany

Metten Abbey

Metten Abbey, or St. Michael"s Abbey, was founded in 766 by Gamelbert of Michaelsbuch. For many centuries Metten was under the lordship of the Dukes and Electors of Bavaria. When Charlemagne stayed in Regensburg for three years after 788, Utto turned his abbey over to the Frankish ruler, making the Ducal Abbey a Royal Abbey. After the Carolingians became extinct, Metten was turned into an Imperial Abbey. Besides the ...
Founded: 766 AD | Location: Metten, Germany

Gross Zicker Church

Gross Zicker brick church was erected with a flat-roofed nave and a rib-vaulted choir around 1360. In 1835 the half-timbered roof tower was rebuilt. Among the preserved medieval furnishings are the altar cross, a bronze bell and the tabernacle, which was carved from a single oak trunk. The Baroque pulpit is also worth mentioning (built in 1653).
Founded: c. 1360 | Location: Groß Zicker, Germany

Tückelhausen Charterhouse

Tückelhausen Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery dedicated to Saints Lambert, John the Baptist and George. It was founded in 1138 by Otto I, Bishop of Bamberg, as a double canonry of the Premonstratensians. From 1351 it belonged to the Carthusians. The charterhouse was dissolved in 1803 during the secularisation of Bavaria and passed mostly into private ownership. The prior's lodging became the parish priest's ...
Founded: 1138 | Location: Tückelhausen, Germany

Malchow Abbey

Malchow Abbey is a former Cistercian nunnery founded in 1298, when the nuns from Röbel settled in Alt-Malchow and took over the premises of the former Magdalene community here. Nicholas II, Prince of Werle, gave the new nunnery the patronage of the churches at Alt-Malchow, Neu-Malchow and Lexow. After the Reformation the abbey was a collegiate foundation for noblewomen from 1572 to 1923. The former abbey building co ...
Founded: 1298 | Location: Malchow, Germany

Elchingen Abbey Church

Elchingen Abbey was a Benedictine monastery in Oberelchingen. For much of its history, Elchingen was one of the 40-odd self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire and, as such, was a virtually independent state that contained several villages aside from the monastery itself. At the time of its secularisation in 1802, the abbey covered 112 square kilometers and had 4000-4200 subjects. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary ...
Founded: 1128 | Location: Oberelchingen, Germany

Matthew Chapel

Matthew Chapel (Matthiaskapelle) is one of the most important chapels in Rhineland-Palatinate. This chapel was built as a reliquary chapel for the safe keeping of Apostle Matthew’s head. Heinrich II of Kobern brought this relic from the Damiette crusade (1217-1221). The head was kept there for 150 years. Between 1362 and 1381, it was at castle Helffenstein. From 1422 till 1927 it was kept in the cathedral treasures of T ...
Founded: 1220-1230 | Location: Kobern-Gondorf, Germany

St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas Church in Altefähr was built of brick in the second half of the 15th century to the site of earlier 13th century chapel. It was painted in 1692 and the tower restored. The next renovation took place in 1737. After the upper third of the tower had collapsed in 1803, the tower was rebuilt. Another extensive renovation of the church took place in 1912-1913. The interior contains valuable wall murals from the 15 ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Altefähr, Germany

Niederaltaich Abbey

Niederaltaich Abbey was founded in 731 or possibly 741 by Duke Odilo of Bavaria. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Maurice, was settled by monks from Reichenau Abbey under Saint Pirmin. Eberswind, the first abbot, is considered the compiler of the Lex Baiuvariorum, the first code of law of the Bavarian people. The monastery brought great areas of Lower Bavaria into cultivation as far as the territory of the present Czech ...
Founded: 731-741 AD | Location: Niederalteich, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.