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

xyz xyz (3 years ago)
A historic place worth to be seen... Advised,
Raven Fuentes (4 years ago)
Great place to see... Beautiful and right around the corner
Ian Huang (4 years ago)
Beautiful place, well worth a visit. The audio guide is very tastefully done and worth getting.
Josh Staton (4 years ago)
Awesome place. Wish we would have had more time to walk around. It feels like a castle almost. One of the cooler things is the model they have in the visitors center. I would definitely like to see if there is a bed and breakfast area in this tiny little town. Feels like a writer's dream.
Reno Browne (4 years ago)
Nice landmark. The natives tend to be a tad bit difficult to understand though as German is not commonly spoken in the countryside. Interestingly enough, the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg seems to encourage the cultivation of this thick dialect bordering on a serious speech impediment. A recent marketing campaign pointed out that "We in Baden-Wuerttemberg can do anything - but speaking proper German." Awwa?!
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