Bebenhausen Abbey

Bebenhausen, Germany

Bebenhausen Abbey was a Cistercian monastery built by Rudolph I, Count Palatine of Tübingen, probably in 1183. Attractively set in a peaceful valley, it is one of the best-preserved Cistercian abbeys in southern Germany. After the Reformation swept through in 1534, and a boarding school was established in 1560, the number of monks dwindled, until the monastery was finally dissolved in 1648.

The abbey’s idyllic woodland setting also appealed to the kings of Württemberg. Bebenhausen passed into their possession in 1807, when much church property was officially annexed by German states. From 1868, parts of the monastery complex were converted into a royal hunting palace, which became a favourite venue for the monarchs and their entourages.

Today, surrounded by the Schönbuch nature reserve, Bebenhausen vividly conveys the atmosphere of a Medieval Cistercian monastery – offering an experience unmatched anywhere else in southern Germany. Guided tours illuminate the lives of the monks and schoolboys, describe the lavish royal hunting parties and give insights into the buildings’ architectural features. The hunting palace also offers interesting tours.

The church, main monastery building, abbot’s residence, guesthouse and infirmary, surrounded by walls and guarded by towers, are located on a terrace above the Goldersbach valley. The outer precinct of the monastery, with an assortment of buildings, is directly adjacent. The famous Sommerrefektorium (summer refectory), a light and airy hall with two aisles and a fan-vaulted ceiling, demonstrates the mastery of its Gothic architects.

The 19th century interiors, inspired by the Gothic and Renaissance styles, make Bebenhausen an important architectural heritage site. But the Grüne Saal (green room) has a distinct Art Nouveau character. After Württemberg ceased to be a monarchy in 1918, the royal couple, Wilhelm II and Charlotte, were given the right to remain in Bebenhausen for the rest of their lives. The royal bathroom and kitchen are well worth seeing: the luxurious bathroom, dating from 1915, is unusually well preserved. The kitchen also represented the height of modernity when it was installed in 1915 – and still works today.

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Details

Founded: 1183
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Payal Nashier (4 months ago)
It was great to visit this and we did a guided tour with the whole group. It was overall a good experience.
Gabriel Colon (6 months ago)
It's a beautiful place!!
Christine Wilson (9 months ago)
I love the old history. It is absolutely beautiful and has been very well maintained.
Zoe Gman (2 years ago)
I fell in love with this place. It was so beautiful I couldn't stop taking pictures. . The monastery was good, but also the town itself was so beautiful.
Dala Rifat (2 years ago)
The view here is very nice and it is very beautiful. Recommended for a short after work walk where the sun is still available. It is also not very far from Stuttgart.
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