Religious sites in 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

St. Andreas Church

St. Andreas brick Gothic church in Lancken Granitz dates back to the 15th century. Its oldest piece is a wooden cross affixed to a triumphal arch. The eight-sided pulpit with its star-shaped ceiling was built in 1598. The baptismal angel, created during the Baroque era, was recently restored. The altar screen (early 19th century) contains a copy of the Madonna painting by Correggio. The organ, which was manufactured in Sz ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Lancken-Granitz, Germany

Heidenheim Abbey

Heidenheim was first mentioned in the year 742. During that time the double monastery of Heidenheim am Hahnenkamm (housing monks and nuns), was founded by Saint Willibald and was later led by Saint Walpurga who became abbess after his death. The first stone church was inaugurated in 778 and the next one hundred years later. The remains of current church date from the Romanesque style build constructed in 1182-1188.
Founded: c. 752 | Location: Heidenheim, Germany

St. Michael’s Church

St. Michael’s Church in Sagard is a single-nave, four-bay Romanesque church built in the early 13th century. Of the original late-Romanesque structure, the nave walls and the western part of the triumphal arch have survived to their full height. The structure of the Romanesque upper wall has been preserved almost completely inside and out. In about 1400 the choir was rebuilt in Gothic style (using demolition material fr ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sagard, Germany

Aura Abbey

Aura Abbey was a house of the Benedictine Order located at Aura an der Saale. Built on the site of an earlier castle, and dedicated to Saints Laurence and Gregory, it was founded by Bishop Otto of Bamberg between about 1108 and 1113; the foundation charter is dated 1122. The new foundation was settled by monks from Hirsau Abbey. The first abbot was Ekkehard of Aura, a monk from Bamberg, famous as the continuer of the Welt ...
Founded: 1108-1122 | Location: Aura an der Saale, Germany

Sonnefeld Monastery

Sonnefeld Monastery, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, was founded in 1260 by Henry II von Sonneberg and his wife Kunigunde. The Monastery was at the beginning in Ebersdorf bei Coburg but, after a great fire in 1267, it was moved to Hofstädten. But the Monastery and its surrounding settlement and district adopted Sonnefeld as their names and kept it until 1889, when Sonnefeld and Hofstädten merged to become Sonnefel ...
Founded: 1260 | Location: Sonnefeld, Germany

St. Peter's Church

Peterskirche was first mentioned in 1173. The current late-Gothic religious building was constructed in 1457 and contains a notable series of paintings from the 15th century. The paintings are Fresco-secco style.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Blansingen, Germany

Kirchschletten Monastery

First mentioned in 1143, the Kirchschletten Monastery started as a feudal farm and belonged to the aristocracy until 1856. It became part of the monastery Niederalteich in 1917. There is an organic farm, a guest house and a candle manufacture on the grounds of the monastery.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kirchschletten, Germany

Ahrensbök Charterhouse

Ahrensbök Charterhouse was a former Carthusian monastery or charterhouse established in 1397. The estates with which it was endowed reached as far as Scharbeutz on the Bay of Lübeck. During the Reformation the monastery was secularised, and with its estates fell into the hands of John II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg, in 1584, who had the buildings demolished. The building materials were used between ...
Founded: 1397 | Location: Ahrensbök, Germany

Frauenzell Abbey

Frauenzell Abbey was a house of the Benedictine Order located at Brennberg. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the monastery was founded in 1321 by Reinmar of Brennberg. At first a cell or priory of Oberalteich Abbey, it was granted the status of an abbey in its own right in 1424. It was dissolved in 1803 in the secularisation of the period. Some of the buildings were used for the accommodation of the school and the minister's ...
Founded: 1321 | Location: Brennberg, Germany

Rühn Abbey

Rühn Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery founded by Brunward, bishop of Schwerin in 1232. Already on May 29, 1292 the monastery was burned down completely. After reconstruction 30-40 nuns lived, prayed and worked there. After the Reformation Duke Ulrich gave the monastery to his wife Elisabeth. She founded in Rühn the first girls" school in Mecklenburg. Numerous renovations and extensions were made then ...
Founded: 1232 | Location: Rühn, Germany

Freiburg Charterhouse

Freiburg Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery founded in 1345 or 1346 by Johannes Schnewlin, knight, Bürgermeister of Freiburg. It was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, in honour of the Grande Chartreuse near Grenoble. In the early 16th century, the premises were extended by the addition of the refectory and the church, which was constructed in the Late Gothic style with ribbed vaulting and flying buttres ...
Founded: 1345 | Location: Freiburg, Germany

Heggbach Abbey

Heggbach Abbey was a Cistercian nunnery founded in 1231 Beguines from nearby Maselheim, close to a church whose dedication to Saint Pancras suggests may have been a proprietary church of the Counts of Berg. This church was supervised by Salem Abbey. The following year, the small convent at Heggbach was also put under the supervision of Salem Abbey. Between 1233 and 1244 Hekebach was incorporated into the Cistercian order ...
Founded: 1231 | Location: Maselheim, Germany

Kellenried Abbey

Kellenried Abbey is a Benedictine monastery of women founded by the Beuronese Congregation in 1924. The first nuns came from St. Gabriel's Abbey, Bertholdstein. The abbey was named after St. Erentraud of Salzburg, first Abbess of Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg. The abbey church was built in 1923–24 in the Baroque Revival style by Adolf J. Lorenz. In 1926 the monastery was raised to the status of an abbey. In 1940 the nuns ...
Founded: 1924 | Location: Kellenried, Germany

Poseritz Church

Poseritz Brick church is built on foundations of large fieldstones. There are individual fieldstone courses in the tower. Work on the nave began between 1302 and 1325. The structure was designed as a three aisle hall structure, and this plan was followed in the first phase of construction, visible in the applied columns to the left and right of the tower entrance. Those to the east were removed in widening the triumphal a ...
Founded: 1302-1325 | Location: Poseritz, 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.