Religious sites in 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

Stolpe Abbey Ruins

Stolpe Abbey was the first monastery in Pomerania. Ratibor I, Duke of Pomerania, founded the abbey on 3 May 1153 in memory of his brother Wartislaw I. Wartislaw, who had subdued the area and converted its people to Christianity in the late 1120s, was killed near the site of the future monastery; according to legend he was murdered by a Liutician pagan. The abbey was settled by Benedictine monks from Berge Abbey near Magd ...
Founded: 1153 | Location: Stolpe, Germany

Ellwangen Abbey

Ellwangen Abbey was the earliest Benedictine monastery established in the Duchy of Swabia. According to the monastery chronicles the abbey was established around 764 by Herulph and his brother Ariolf, both documented as Chorbishops of Langres. There is however some evidence that the foundation dates back to 732. The first monks may came from the Abbey of St. Benignus at Dijon. Ellwangen in its early days was home to Abbo ...
Founded: c. 764 AD | Location: Ellwangen (Jagst), Germany

St. Ottilien Archabbey

St. Ottilien Archabbey is a Benedictine monastery in Emming near Eresing and the Ammersee. It is the mother house of the St. Ottilien Congregation, otherwise known as the Missionary Benedictines. In the 16th century a small castle was built at Emming, including a chapel dedicated to Saint Ottilia. Both castle and chapel were made over in the Baroque style in the 17th century. After several changes of owner, and the demo ...
Founded: 1884 | Location: Eresing, Germany

Nütschau Priory

Nütschau Priory is a Benedictine house located in the former Nütschau manor house. The manor was built in 1577-1579 by Heinrich Rantzau, this community originated after World War II as a refuge for displaced persons, particularly Catholics from the former German territories. The church acquired the site in 1951 and at the request of Hermann Wilhelm Berning, the Bishop of Osnabrück, it was developed by and ...
Founded: 1577/1951 | Location: Nütschau, Germany

Königsbronn Abbey

Königsbronn Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded in 1303 by Emperor Albert I. The first monks were settled from Salem Abbey. When the permanent buildings were constructed between 1310 and 1325, most of the stone came from the ruined castle. The new monastery was called Königsbronn, from which the town took its name. Albert granted it as part of its endowment the advowson of the church of Reutlingen, where th ...
Founded: 1303 | Location: Königsbronn, Germany

Schöntal Abbey

Schöntal Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey famous as one of the most impressive pieces of Baroque architecture in northern Württemberg. It was founded in 1153 in Neusass by Wolfram von Bebenburg and was settled by monks from Maulbronn Abbey. The original site proved unsuitable and the new community moved to the present location in Schöntal on the Jagst between 1157 and 1163. The land for the new site was p ...
Founded: 1153 | Location: Schöntal, Germany

St. George’s Church

The parish church dedicated to St .George is mentioned for first time in historical sources dating 1229; the earliest church on the site was a Late Romanesque Brick Gothic basilica built without a steeple. In 1289, the basilica was largely destroyed in a fire. Thanks to contributions from the sale of papal indulgences, St. George"s church was rebuilt as a Gothic four tiered hall church with three naves; it was consec ...
Founded: 1307 | Location: Parchim, Germany

Roggenburg Abbey

Roggenburg Abbey is widely known for its almost unchanged Baroque building and the organ concerts that are held in the church. For over three centuries, Roggenburg was one of the 40-odd self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire and, as such, was a virtually independent state. Its abbot had seat and voice at the Imperial Diet where he sat on the Bench of the Prelates of Swabia. In 1126 Count Bertold of Bibereck ...
Founded: 1126 | Location: Roggenburg, Germany

Kaisheim Abbey

The Imperial Abbey of Kaisersheim was a Cistercian monastery in Kaisersheim, now Kaisheim. As one of the 40-odd self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire, Kaisersheim was a virtually independent state. Its abbot had seat and voice at the Imperial Diet where he sat on the Bench of the Prelates of Swabia. At the time of its secularisation in 1802, the Abbey covered 136 square kilometers and has 9,500-10,000 subje ...
Founded: 1135 | Location: Kaisheim, Germany

Mariawald Abbey

Mariawald Abbey is a monastery of the Trappists (formally known as the Cistercians of the Strict Observance), located above the village of Heimbach. Following Heinrich Fluitter"s vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a shrine and chapel were built on the site of it, which became a place of pilgrimage, the Marienwallfahrt. For the proper care of the site and the pilgrims land was given in 1480 to the Cistercian ...
Founded: 1486 | Location: Heimbach, Germany

St. Jacob's Church

St. Jacob"s Church in Gingst is a brick church from the 14th century. It has suffered immense damage from fire and collapse over the years. After a serious fire a stucco ceiling was installed in 1726, and gradually the whole interior of the church was remodelled in the Baroque style. The organ built by Stralsund native Christian Kindt in 1790 is particularly grand. Other items include a baptismal font with a wood lid ...
Founded: 14 | Location: Gingst, Germany

St. Stephen's Abbey

St. Stephen"s Abbey, dedicated to Saint Stephen, was founded in 969 by Saint Ulrich, Bishop of Augsburg, and used by Augustinian canonesses. It was dissolved in the secularisation of Bavaria in 1803, and the premises passed into the possession of the town. The army used the site for a few years as a quartermaster"s store. In 1828 King Ludwig I of Bavaria founded a grammar school here, as a successor to the form ...
Founded: 969 AD | Location: Augsburg, Germany

Landow Village Church

The village church of Landow built around the year 1312. It was built as a Wegekirche, a church which is designed such that the location of the priest and congregation gives the impression that they are on their way to the Lord, facing the Christ, usually in the symbolic form of a cross or painting. In 2004, dendrochronological research of the oak timber-framing was carried out. This demonstrated that the church is one o ...
Founded: 1312 | Location: Dreschvitz, Germany

Rott Abbey

Rott Abbey, dedicated to Saints Marinus and Anianus, was founded in the late 11th century by Count Kuno of Rott (d. 1086). After it was dissolved in 1803 in the secularisation of Bavaria, the buildings were sold off to various private owners and largely demolished. The Rococo church however still remains.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Rott am Inn, Germany

Frauenberg Abbey

Frauenberg Franciscan monastery, founded in 1623, is situated in a park at the top of one of Fulda’s seven hills. From here you have a magnificent view of the city and the Rhön and Vogelsberg mountains. The monastery is a late baroque construction with a very fine interior which has undergone intensive restoration work.
Founded: 1623 | Location: Fulda, Germany

Kirchberg convent

The Kirchberg convent is considered to be one of the most historically important religious buildings in Baden-Wuerttemberg. It also ranks as one of the oldest, having been built in the early 13th century, and one of the first female church houses in central Europe. The Kirchberg monastery was a convent built in 1237, on the site of a former castle. In 1245 the monastery was recognised by Pope Innocent IV. Over roughly th ...
Founded: 1237 | Location: Kirchberg, Germany

Zarrentin Abbey

The Cistercian Zarrentin Abbey was founded around 1250 and securalized in 1552 due the Reformation. Parts of the monastery have survived and the the abbey church is today a parish church.
Founded: 1250 | Location: Zarrentin, 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.