Religious sites in Germany

Prüll Charterhouse

Prüll Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Vitus, was established as Prüll Abbey, a Benedictine foundation, in 997 by Gebhard I, Bishop of Regensburg, and his brother Rapoto. In about 1100 the Ottonian church building was replaced by a Romanesque hall church, the first of the sort in Bavaria. In 1484 Prüll became a Carthusian monastery, with the support of Albert ...
Founded: 997 AD | Location: Regensburg, Germany

Vilmnitz Church

The Imposing Vilmnitz brick church was built in the mid-13th century with double square choir and rib-vaulting. Shortly afterwards, the sacristy to the north was built. Square-hewn fieldstones in the base of the wall point to the early date of building for the choir and the sacristy. Originally there was a narrower nave, completed at about the mid-14th century at the latest. In the 15th century it was demolished and repla ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Vilmnitz, Germany

St. Nicholas' Church

The construction of the church for Saint Nicholas, the patron of sailors, fishermen and merchants, commenced around 1280, predating the first written sources that mention Anklam, which generally date to around 1300. The church's steeple was clearly visible from far away, and was once used for navigation of the lagoon near the town. During the Middle Ages, the church was regarded as a symbol of Anklam and as a monument to ...
Founded: c. 1280 | Location: Anklam, Germany

Reichenbach Priory

Reichenbach Priory was a house of the Benedictine Order located at Klosterreichenbach. The monastery was founded, against the background of the Investiture Controversy and the Hirsau Reforms, as a priory of Hirsau Abbey, from where it was settled, in 1082; in 1085 the church was dedicated to Saint Gregory the Great by Bishop Gebhard of Konstanz. The Vögte (lords protectors) of the monastery were the Counts of Eberst ...
Founded: 1082 | Location: Klosterreichenbach, Germany

Oberschönenfeld Abbey

Oberschönenfeld Abbey is a Cistercian nunnery in Gessertshausen. As early as around 1186 there were Beguines, or a similar community of women, on this site. In about 1211 they formed a more structured community which by 1248, when the church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, had been formally constituted as a Cistercian nunnery, accounted a daughter house of Kaisheim Abbey; its founders were the local nobleman Volkma ...
Founded: 1211-1248 | Location: Gessertshausen, Germany

St. John's Church

St. John"s Church in Petersdorf dates from the 13th century. Its 64-metre-high steeple was used as a daymark by ships on the Fehmarn Belt and Sound, as it is visible for up to 20 miles at sea. The church and adjacent cemetery are surrounded by 64 lime trees. The altar triptych dating from the 14th century is considered a masterpiece of Gothic carving skill. The oldest artefact is the font of Gotland limestone. The ch ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Petersdorf, Germany

Maria Engelport Monastery

Maria Engelport Monastery lies in the sleepy valley of the Flaumbach, a tributary valley of the Mosel. It was founded three times during its history. The original foundation took place in 1220. According to the legend appeared to knight Emelrikus of Monreal, he lived near Treis-Karden in Fankel, two angels with burning candles and jingling bells as he was out hunting. At this place he built a church and a convent. Cisterc ...
Founded: 1220/1903 | Location: Treis, Germany

Preetz Priory

Preetz Priory is a former German Benedictine monastery of nuns founded in 1211 by Graf Albrecht of Orlamünde, nephew of King Valdemar II of Denmark. He founded it following a mystical experience which he later recounted happened while he was stalking a deer. After following it into a glen, the deer stood still and he suddenly saw a gleaming cross appear between its antlers. He felt that the site was a holy place whic ...
Founded: 1211 | Location: Preetz, Germany

Weissenau Abbey

Weissenau Abbey was an Imperial abbey (Reichsabtei) of the Holy Roman Empire. The abbey, a Premonstratensian monastery, was an Imperial Estate and therefore its abbot had seat and voice in the Reichstag as a prelate of the Swabian Bench. The abbey existed from 1145 until the secularisation of 1802-1803. The monastery was founded in 1145 by Gebizo of Ravensburg, a ministerialis of the Welfs, and his sister Luitgarde. Its ...
Founded: 1145 | Location: Ravensburg, Germany

Amandus Church

The Protestant Amandus Church is a late Gothic fortified former village church. The first mention of a church at this place dates from 844. The foundation walls of the massive choir tower date from the late Romanesque or early Gothic period. The chancel, the choir tower with its embrasures and the oldest part of the nave were probably not built until after 1450, despite the early Gothic impression created by the chancel a ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Freiberg am Neckar, Germany

St. Severin Church

St. Severin is a Lutheran parish church named after the 4th-century bishop Severin of Cologne. Built in the Romanesque style and first documented in 1240, the church stands back from the town at a higher elevation. The tower was built around 1450 and served as a navigation mark for seafarers as well as a prison. The site upon which the church now stands initially housed a sanctuary to Odin and was used for the worship of ...
Founded: 1216-1240 | Location: Keitum, Germany

Söflingen Abbey

Söflingen Abbey was a nunnery of the Order of Poor Ladies, also known as the Poor Clares. Being the oldest nunnery of this order in Germany, it was also its most important and most affluent. Söflingen Abbey originated from a pre-Franciscan congregation of women that had acquired the rights over three farmsteads close to the river Danube near Ulm. It was for the first time mentioned in 1237. Soon the original location be ...
Founded: 1253 | Location: Ulm, Germany

Isen Abbey Church

Isen Abbey was a Benedictine abbey, later a collegiate foundation. Dedicated to Saint Zeno of Verona, the abbey was founded by members of the Fagana family, an indigenous Bavarian noble clan, and by Bishop Joseph of Freising (also known as Joseph of Verona) in the 8th century, about 752. It was one of the oldest monasteries on ancient Bavarian soil. Until the beginning of the 12th century it was Benedictine, but afterward ...
Founded: 752 AD | Location: Isen, Germany

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter"s is a Romanesque church in Syburg, now a suburb of Dortmund. Standing on a rocky outcrop above the confluence of the Ruhr and the Lenne, the sandstone church is one of the most noticeable landmarks in the area. The church is surrounded by a graveyard, which contains the oldest gravestones in Westphalia; three stones date back to between 750 and 850, one of which is in the church. In his desire fo ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Dortmund, Germany

St. Andrea's Church

The village Rappin was first mentioned in 1305 and the construction of the brick church started around 1300. Subsequently, the rib-vaulted nave was added, as were a vestibule and sacristy. The wooden bell tower was created only in 1635. A limestone font, the oldest piece in the church, dates back to the second half of the 13th century, and is decorated with motifs of round arches and faces. Escutcheons and memorial slabs ...
Founded: 1305 | Location: Rappin, Germany

Schuttern Abbey Church

Schuttern Abbey was a Benedictine monastery which was, according to tradition, founded in 603 by the wandering Irish monk Offo. After some initial difficulties the monastery and the settlement round it, at that time known as Offoniscella ('cell of Offo'), gradually flourished. In the 8th century Saint Pirmin introduced the Rule of St. Benedict and revived the fortunes of the abbey, as demonstrated by the rush of ...
Founded: 603 AD | Location: Schuttern, Germany

St. Lawrence's Church

St. Lawrence"s Church in Zudar was built from the middle of the 13th century and was once a popular place of pilgrimage. That changed in 1372 when a ship sank on its way to the church and all the people aboard perished. The altar screen from the Stralsund workshop of Hans Broder (dated 1707) consists of different architecturally framed paintings. Its main painting dates back to 1726. The pulpit (1765) is of late-Baro ...
Founded: c. 1250 | Location: Zudar, Germany

Mallersdorf Abbey

Mallersdorf was formerly a monastery of the Benedictine Order and is now a Franciscan convent in Mallersdorf-Pfaffenberg. The monastery, dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist, was founded in 1107 by Heinrich of Kirchberg, a ministerialis of Niedermünster in Regensburg, and settled by monks from either the monastery of Michelsberg in Bamberg or St. Emmeram"s Abbey in Regensburg. Under Abbot Eppo (1122-1143) th ...
Founded: 1107 | Location: Mallersdorf, Germany

Prüfening Abbey

Prüfening Abbey was a Benedictine monastery on the outskirts of Regensburg. Since the beginning of the 19th century it has also been known as Prüfening Castle (Schloss Prüfening). Notably, its extant dedicatory inscription, commemorating the founding of the abbey in 1119, was created by printing and is a unique document of medieval typography. The monastery is situated on the western edge of the town of Re ...
Founded: 1119 | Location: Regensburg, Germany

St. Peter's Abbey Church

St. Peter's Abbey on the Madron was a Benedictine monastery in Flintsbach. The church, now a pilgrimage church known as the Peterskirchlein, still stands on the site. The Madron is a mountain known also as the Petersberg. It was occupied in ancient times, showing traces of Bronze Age settlement. A poorly documented monastic foundation dating from sometime in the 8th century and settled by monks from St. Peter's Abbey in ...
Founded: 1130 | Location: Flintsbach am Inn, 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.