Religious sites in Germany

St. Mary’s Church

The Parchim 'new town' and St. Mary’s Church parish were mentioned for the first time in historical documents dating to 1249: a new town market and St. Mary’s Church with 54-metre high steeple were built at this time. St. Mary"s church steeple was finished in 1300 and its silhouette became a well-known landmark in the town. St. Mary’s Church is the oldest preserved building in Parchim and ...
Founded: 1249 | Location: Parchim, Germany

Biburg Abbey

Biburg Abbey was a house of the Benedictines founded in 1132 by Konrad and Arbo von Sittling-Biburg. They were sons of the Blessed Berta of Biburg, who donated their castle to the Bishop of Bamberg for the purpose. The foundation was originally a double monastery for both men and women; the nunnery however burnt down in 1258 and was not re-built. In 1555 the monastery was dissolved and the premises came into lay hands. I ...
Founded: 1132 | Location: Biburg, Germany

Ensdorf Abbey

Ensdorf Abbey was a house of the Benedictine Order, dedicated to Saint James. It was founded in 1121 by Pfalzgraf Otto of Wittelsbach. The monastery was dissolved in 1556 but restored in 1669, only to be dissolved again in 1802 in the secularisation of the period. The premises were taken over in 1920 by the Salesians of Don Bosco, who still occupy them.
Founded: 1121 | Location: Ensdorf, Germany

Gars Abbey

Gars Abbey was founded in 768 by the cleric Boso from Salzburg for Tassilo III, Duke of Bavaria. For centuries it belonged to the archbishopric of Salzburg. The Augustinian Canons erected the present monastery building after 1122. In 1128 Bishop Conrad I of Salzburg transferred the monastery to the Augustinian Canons. In 1648 the Swedes pillaged and devastated the town and the monastery. Under Provost Athanasius Peitlhau ...
Founded: 768 AD | Location: Gars am Inn, Germany

Neustadt am Main Abbey

Neustadt am Main Abbey was first mentioned in a document dating to 768/769. Reportedly, the consecration of the abbey church was in 793. Berowelf, who succeeded Megingoz as Bishop of Würzburg, sent 50 monks to join him at this Nivenstat or Nuovenstatt ('new place'). To establish the new foundation"s independence from Würzburg, Megingoz succeeded in making it a Königskloster, chartered by the ...
Founded: 760-793 | Location: Neustadt am Main, Germany

Osterhofen Abbey

Henry V, Duke of Bavaria and his wife Luitgard erected a collegiate abbey of Augustinian Canons in his palace in Osterhofen in 1004–09. In 1017 the Emperor Henry II of Germany transferred the abbey to the diocese of Bamberg. In 1128 Bishop Otto of Bamberg brought men and women from the Premonstratensian Ursberg Abbey to the Osterhofen collegiate abbey.The abbey was endowed with extensive properties in the Wachau val ...
Founded: 1004-1009 | Location: Osterhofen, Germany

St. Michael Priory

The Priory of St. Michael, dedicated to Saint Michael, was founded in 1141 by Gebhard von Roning, as a monastery of Canons Regular, which it remained until 1598. It was re-founded in 1616 by monks from Andechs Abbey as a Benedictine community, which was dissolved during the secularization of monasteries in Bavaria in 1803. The monastery was bought in 1974 by the Canons Regular of the newly refounded Congregation of Winde ...
Founded: 1141 | Location: Paring, Germany

Neuenkamp Abbey

Prince Wizlaw I granted the central parts of the woods covering the mainland section of his Principality of Rügen to Cistercian monks from Camp Abbey in Lower Saxony who build Neuenkamp Abbey on 8 November 1231. The monks erected a church that was then the largest church in all Pomerania. The possessions of the abbey rapidly increased, 50 years after its foundation the abbey"s territory reached the coast. The wo ...
Founded: 1231 | Location: Franzburg, Germany

Schönau Abbey

Schönau Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded in 1142 from Eberbach Abbey. The present settlement of Schönau grew up round the monastery. By the end of the 12th century Schönau was already in use as a burial place of the Staufen family: in 1195 Conrad of Hohenstaufen, Count Palatine of the Rhine, was buried here, as were his son of the same name, probably in 1186, and both his wives. Adolf, Count Palatin ...
Founded: 1142 | Location: Schönau, Germany

Rinchnach Priory

Rinchnach Priory, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, was founded in 1011 by Saint Gunther, a Benedictine monk of Niederaltaich Abbey, as the first settlement in the central Bavarian Forest. In 1029 Emperor Conrad II endowed the monastery with land. It was made a priory of Niederaltaich in 1040, when Saint Gunther moved on to Gutwasser (the present Dobra Voda) in Bohemia. In 1488 the Hussites burnt the monastery down. I ...
Founded: 1011 | Location: Rinchnach, Germany

St. Vitus' Abbey

St. Vitus' Abbey on the Rott was a Benedictine monastery founded in 1121 by the nobleman Dietmar of Lungau, and dissolved during the secularisation of Bavaria in 1802. The premises were given at first to the Damenstift of St. Anna in Munich, but in 1829 came into the possession of the Saxon Baron Maximilian von Speck-Sternburg and then in 1858 were sold to Count Maximilian von Montgelas. Formerly in the diocese of Salzb ...
Founded: 1121 | Location: Neumarkt-Sankt Veit, Germany

Bredelar Abbey

In the year 1196, the Archbishop of Cologne summoned monks from the Cistercian Abbey in Hardhausen to establish a new abbey in a former Premonstratensian convent nearby that had been founded in 1170 but disbanded shortly thereafter. As abbey and landholder, the “Zisterze Breidelare“ would go on to spur the economic, intellectual and spiritual growth of the northeast Sauerland region. The Bredelar Abbey thrived for a go ...
Founded: 1196 | Location: Bredelar, Germany

St. George’s Church

St. George’s Church in Wiek was built in several phases from about 1400 onwards to the site of an early structure mentioned in 1318. Brick building on carefully hewn large boulders in the foundation and lower courses. Two choir bays and sacristy from the first building phase, with four cross-vaulted, three-aisle nave bays and narthex added a little later. At various places, late Medieval murals and crosses from abou ...
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Wiek, Germany

Attel Abbey

Attel Abbey was a monastery, originally of the Benedictines, later of the Brothers Hospitallers. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint Michael was founded as a Benedictine abbey by Count Arnold of Diessen-Andechs in around 1037. It was dissolved in 1803 in the secularisation of Bavaria. The abbey buildings were partly demolished, partly acquired by private owners. In 1874 the Bavarian government set ...
Founded: c. 1037 | Location: Attel, Germany

Geisenfeld Abbey

Count Eberhard II and his wife Adelheit founded Geisenfeld Abbey in 1030 after their three children had died leaving no descendants. It replaced a monastery in today"s Engelbrechtsmünster that had been destroyed around 955 AD by the Hungarians. The founders gave the abbey a lavish endowment. Instead of monks, as before, the Abbey was for use by nuns of the Order of Saint Benedict from noble families. It accommod ...
Founded: 1030 | Location: Geisenfeld, Germany

Oberalteich Abbey

Oberalteich Abbey, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, was founded in c. 1100 by Count Frederick of Bogen, a lord protector of Regensburg cathedral. After a serious fire in 1245 the premises were re-constructed under abbots Heimo (1247 to 1252) and Purchard (1256 to 1260). Under abbot Friedrich II (1346 to 1358) the abbey was fortified. The church was extensively altered in the time of abbot Johann II Asperger (1438 to 14 ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Oberalteich, Germany

Schlehdorf Abbey

Schlehdorf Abbey was originally a Benedictine monastery, later an Augustinian monastery, and is today a convent of the Missionary Dominican Sisters of King William's Town. The abbey, dedicated to Saints Dionysius and Tertullinus, was founded around perhaps 740 from the nearby Benediktbeuern Abbey. In 769 it was resettled by monks from the abandoned Scharnitz Abbey. The first abbot, Atto, brought with him the relics of Sa ...
Founded: 740-769 AD | Location: Schlehdorf, Germany

Thierhaupten Abbey

Thierhaupten Abbey, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, was founded in the late 8th century by Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria - the last of the Agilolfings, who was deposed by Charlemagne in 788. Under the Carolingian dynasty, the abbey became a possession of the Augsburg bishops. Its name Thierhaupten, which means 'beasts' heads' in German, is supposed to refer to a heathen shrine formerly on the site, possibly the remnants ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Thierhaupten, Germany

Ursberg Abbey

Ursberg Abbey is a former Premonstratensian monastery, now a convent of the Franciscan St. Joseph"s Congregation. The monastery, dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint John the Evangelist, was founded between 1126 and 1128 by the nobleman Wernher of Schwabegg-Balzhausen. It was the first Premonstratensian foundation in southern Germany. The monastery became an Imperial abbey in 1143. As was usual with early Premonstrate ...
Founded: 1126-1128 | Location: Ursberg, Germany

Hardehausen Abbey

In 1009 Herswithehusen (Hardehausen) became the property of Meinwerk, bishop of Paderborn. The abbey was founded in 1140 by bishop Bernhard I of Paderborn as a daughter house of Kamp Abbey on the Lower Rhine. Construction was completed with the dedication of the church in 1165. During the Thirty Years" War the abbey was looted and destroyed. During its reconstruction in the years 1680 to 1750 it received ...
Founded: 1140 | Location: Warburg, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Limburg Cathedral

The Cathedral of Limburg is one of the best preserved late Romanesque style buildings. It is unknown When the first church was built above the Lahn river. Archaeological discoveries have revealed traces of a 9th-century church building in the area of the current chapel. It was probably built in Merovingian times as a castle and the chapel added in the early 9th century.

In 910 AD, Count Konrad Kurzbold (cousin of the future King Konrad I) founded a collegiate chapter of 18 canons, who lived according to the rule of Bishop Chrodegang of Metz, on the hilltop site. The original castle chapel was torn down and a three-aisled basilica was built in its place. The foundations of this basilica have been found beneath the present floor.

The construction of current cathedral is dated to 1180-90. The consecration was performed in 1235 by the archbishop of Trier. It seems certain that the cathedral was built in four stages. The first stage encompassed the west facade, the south side aisle, the choir and the transept up to the matroneum. This section forms the Conradine church. The second stage consisted of the addition of the inner pillars of the south nave. In this stage the bound system was first introduced. In the third phase, the matroneum in the southern nave was built. The fourth stage included the north side of the transept and the choir matroneum. By this stage Gothic influence is very clear.

The interior was destroyed by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years War (1618-48) and reconstructed in a late Baroque style in 1749. The Baroque renovation was heavy-handed: the surviving medieval stained glass windows were replaced; all the murals were covered up; the ribs of the vaults and columns of the arcades were painted blue and red; the capstones were gilded; the original high altar was replaced. The colorfully painted exterior was coated in plain white and the central tower was extended by 6.5 meters.

The collegiate chapter of Limburg was dissolved in 1803 during the Napoleonic period, but then raised to the rank of cathedral in 1827 when the bishopric of Limburg was founded. Some renovations in contemporary style followed: the walls were coated white, the windows were redone in blue and orange (the heraldic colors of the Duke of Nassau) and towers were added to the south transept (1865).

Further changes came after Limburg was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866. It was now the Romantic period and the cathedral was accordingly restored to an idealized vision of its original Romanesque appearance. The exterior stonework was stripped of all its plaster and paint, to better conform with the Romantic ideal of a medieval church growing out of the rock. The Baroque interior was stripped away and the wall paintings were uncovered and repainted.

Further renovations came in 1934-35, enlightened by better knowledge of the original art and architecture. Art Nouveau stained glass windows were also added. A major restoration in 1965-90 included replastering and painting the exterior, both to restore it to its original appearance and to protect the stonework, which was rapidly deteriorating while exposed to the elements.

The interior is covered in medieval frescoes dating from 1220 to 1235. They are magnificent and important survivals, but time has not been terribly kind to them - they were whitewashed over in the Baroque period (1749) and uncovered and repainted with a heavy hand in the Romantic period (1870s) before finally being restored more sensitively in the 1980s.