Religious sites in Germany

Gerleve Abbey

Gerleve Abbey was founded by the monks of Beuron Archabbey. The community, dedicated to Saint Joseph, was established in 1899 on the farm given for the purpose by the Wermelt family. It was formally declared an abbey in 1904. The first abbot was ordained in 1906, Raphael Molitor OSB. In 1941 the community was expelled from Westphalia by order of the National Socialists, but the monks were able to return in 1946. There ...
Founded: 1899 | Location: Billerbeck, Germany

Gutenzell Abbey Church

Gutenzell Abbey was a Cistercian nunnery but its origins are unknown. According to legend, the monastery was founded in the 12th century by two sisters of the aristocratic family Schlossberg, whose castle was nearby. However, the first record of Gutenzell Abbey was its refoundation, or possibly confirmation, charter from 1237 as a Cistercian monastery. In its early days the monastery was favoured and supported particular ...
Founded: 1237 | Location: Gutenzell, Germany

St. Catherine`s Church

St Catherine`s Church in Trent, first mentioned in a document dating to 1318, is special due to its rib-vaulted choir (c.1400) alongside the middle axis. Today"s nave was built at the end of the 15th century in the form of a Gothic hall. Apertures in the wall of the three-story west tower indicate that it served a defensive purpose at times of war. The curved dome was added to the tower only in 1602. The elaborate ca ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Trent, Germany

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary’s Church in Anklam is one of the most beautiful Brick Gothic churches in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It was founded in the middle of the 13th century. To this day, one part of the church"s double tower and a square-shaped presbytery have been preserved. St. Mary"s was mentioned for the first time in written documents in 1296. At the end of the 15th century, the church’s presbytery was enlarged b ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Anklam, Germany

Ilmmünster Abbey Church

Ilmmünster Abbey was formerly a collegiate foundation and originally a Benedictine monastery. The original site was a Benedictine monastery, founded in about 762 by the brothers Adalbert and Otker, traditionally supposed to be members of the Huosi, an ancient Bavarian noble family. The monastery was dedicated to Saints Arsatius, whose relics were here, and Quirinus, whose relics were at Tegernsee Abbey, founded by th ...
Founded: 762/1060 | Location: Ilmmünster, Germany

Braunau in Rohr Abbey

Braunau in Rohr Abbey is a monastery of the Augustinian Canons dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was founded in 1133 by Adalbert of Rohr. It was dissolved in the secularization of 1803 when the German princes substituted church lands for property they had lost through Napoleon. In the east wing the parish priest's offices and a school were accommodated, and in a part of the west wing, an inn. The ...
Founded: 1133 | Location: Rohr in Niederbayern, Germany

Reisach Priory

Reisach Priory, dedicated to Saint Theresa, was founded as Urfahrn Priory in 1731 by Johann Georg Messerer, a counsellor at the Bavarian court, and was built between 1737 and 1741 by Abraham Millauer and his son Philipp to plans by the master builder Johann Baptist Gunetzrhainer. The interior of the church is by the Munich court painter Balthasar Albrecht. Urfahrn Priory was dissolved in 1802, during the secularisation o ...
Founded: 1731 | Location: Reisach, Germany

Windberg Abbey

Windberg Abbey was founded by Count Albert I of Bogen with the assistance of Bishop Otto of Bamberg on the site of the original seat of the Counts of Bogen. Initially it was not a specifically Premonstratensian foundation, but was transferred to the order as an already established community between 1121 and 1146. The quire of the church was dedicated in 1142 by Heinrich Zdik, Bishop of Olmütz, in the presence of Coun ...
Founded: 1121-1146 | Location: Windberg, Germany

Dobbertin Abbey

Dobbertin Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery of monks, afterwards housed a community of nuns, and later still a women"s collegiate foundation. The abbey was founded during the Christianisation of Germany in about 1220 by Prince Heinrich Borwin II of Mecklenburg and was the first field monastery in Mecklenburg. The founder gave it to the Benedictines for a community of monks. 15 years later it was turned into a B ...
Founded: 1220 | Location: Dobbertin, Germany

Vornbach Abbey

Vornbach Abbey, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint Benedict, was founded in 1094 by Count Ekkebert of Formbach and his wife Mathilde, and also by Count Ulrich of Windberg. It was dissolved in 1803 during the secularisation of Bavaria. The monastic buildings came into the possession of Franz X. Bachmayr, and in 1857 into that of the Baron von Schätzler. The abbey"s Austrian possessions were taken by the stat ...
Founded: 1094 | Location: Neuhaus am Inn, Germany

Wettenhausen Abbey

Wettenhausen Abbey was an Imperial Abbey of Augustinian Canons until its secularization in 1802-1803. Being one of the 40-odd self-ruling Imperial Abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire, Wettenhaussen Abbey was a virtually independent state. Its abbot had seat and voice in the Imperial Diet, where he sat on the Bench of the Prelates of Swabia. The abbey, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint George, was founded in 1130 b ...
Founded: 1130 | Location: Wettenhausen, Germany

Herrgottskirche

Herrgottskirche (Church of Our Lord) was built in the mid-14th century after a farmer is said to have found an undamaged communion host in the field that he was ploughing. It is most famous for its wooden altar by the woodworker Tilman Riemenschneider which is considered as one of the most valuable examples of religious altar carving in the Middle Ages.
Founded: c. 1350 | Location: Creglingen, Germany

Bobbin Church

Nothing remains of the preceding structure of Bobbin Church (mentioned in 1250, originally owned by the Bergen monastery). The present church is an imposing, fieldstone structure with shaped brick elements plastered so as to leave the underlying surface visible. Brick is used for the corners of the building, gables, buttresses, vaults, and all ornamentation. The nave, choir, and sacristy were built in about 1400. It has a ...
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Glowe, Germany

Baumburg Abbey

Baumburg Abbey was founded by Count Berengar II of Sulzbach in 1107-09 to fulfill his oath on the death of his wife Adelheid von Megling-Frontenhausen. Count Berengar appointed Eberwin as provost of the monastery. He moved Augustinian canons to the new abbey from the Berchtesgaden Provostry, which he and Eberwin had previously peopled with canons from Rottenbuch Abbey. He also appropriated property from Berchtesgaden for ...
Founded: 1107 | Location: Baumburg, Germany

Beuerberg Abbey

Beuerberg Abbey, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, was founded in about 1120 by Count Otto of Eurasburg; the church was dedicated in 1127. It was damaged by fire in 1294 and again in 1330, when the library and archives were largely destroyed. It was a small house for most of the Middle Ages, but gained in numbers during the reforms originating from the monastery at Indersdorf of the mid 15th century. It suffered a colla ...
Founded: 1120 | Location: Beuerberg, Germany

Saalkirche

Saalkirche, today a Protestant church, was constructed on a cross‐shaped floor in the 10th century as a further sacral building in the Ingelheim Pfalz. Thus the imperial palace reached its closed U‐shaped form, which had already been foreseen in the Carolingian building concept. In the following centuries the church was constantly remodelled, mainly in the 12th century. Integrated into a monastery in 1345, the ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Ingelheim am Rhein, Germany

St. Mary Magdalene's Church

St. Mary Magdalene"s Church in Neuenkirchen was first mentioned in 1318. The present church was probably built between 1380 and 1450. After the roof tower was destroyed in the 17th century, it was replaced with a bell tower at the west gable in 1900. Restoration work revealed, under several layers of limestone, foreign paintings that may be of Danish origin. In 1775 St Mary"s Church in Bergen donated to the Neue ...
Founded: 1380-1450 | Location: Neuenkirchen, Germany

Wittichen Abbey

Wittichen Abbey is a former Poor Clares abbey founded by Saint Luitgard of Wittichen in 1324. According to Luitgard, who came from the Schenkenzell village of Kaltbrunn-Vortal, God said to her on the site of the monastery: 'Here you are to build me a house!' So she searched for other co-sisters and founded her abbey in the outback of Wittichen with 33 sisters. The abbey found support from the dukes of Teck and ...
Founded: 1324 | Location: Schenkenzell, Germany

Pielenhofen Abbey

Pielenhofen Abbey for Cistercian nuns, dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was founded in 1240 by the lords of Hohenfels and Ehrenfels. In 1542, during the Reformation in Pfalz-Neuburg, it was placed under secular administration. In 1655 it was subordinated to Kaisheim Abbey as a sub-priory. During the secularisation of Bavaria in 1803 the priory was dissolved; the nuns" church became a parish ch ...
Founded: 1240 | Location: Pielenhofen, Germany

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter"s Church (Petrikirche) is a hall church with three naves that was built around 1230 on a small hill in Landkirchen. The brick building only features a small ridge turret. The wooden church tower that stands a few metres away was erected in 1638.
Founded: 1230 | Location: Landkirchen, 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.