St. Michael Abbey Ruins

Heidelberg, Germany

The Monastery of St. Michael on the Heiligenberg (Saints" Mountain), was a branch of the nearby Lorsch Abbey. The ruined complex that can be seen today was built beginning in 1023. Within the nave are traces of the Roman temple of Mercury. The monastery was abandoned in the 16th century.

The first mention of the monastery is in the Lorsch codex, from the 12th century, which dates the founding of the monastery to 870. No remains of an earlier monastery have been found, so this might have been merely an estimate of the founding.

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Details

Founded: 1023
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Ottonian Dynasty (Germany)

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Danielle Cummings (4 months ago)
This place is truly magical. Brought my three kids ages 6, 4, and 2 years here today on a chilly September 2022 weekday afternoon. I'd been putting it off, as I didn't know how demanding it would be for myself and/or the kids, but finally a cool, non-rainy day happened and so we came. I put the Wanderparkplatz Heiligenberg as my Google Maps destination and arrived uneventfully. The parking lot is quite large, free, gravel, with many shaded spots. There are benches and informational signs at the lot. The path to the ruins is clearly marked, first bringing you by the beer garden (which, I might add, was PACKED on this Thursday afternoon) followed by the Thingstatte. The path is indeed stroller friendly until you get to the last 100 meters before the monestary, as long as you have a sturdy stroller (I used my double BOB stroller) and don't mind pushing it uphill - it was demanding but more than manageable pushing my 2 and 4 year olds up while the 6 year old walked (without any difficulty or complaint). I parked the stroller at the top of the Thingstatte where the rocky trail starts up toward the ruin and we all walked to the ruin without issue. Overall, the walk from the parking lot took roughly 15 minutes walking as fast as I could push the stroller up. The ruin itself is magnificent - there are two towers intact (both of which you can climb to the top of), and the bases of many rooms and halls with their windows and doors intact inviting you to explore, and almost every room is marked with its purpose both in written and graphic form, which my kids LOVED. I didn't have cell service so I couldn't translate the text at the time, so the images helped me understand what German words I didn't know. We explored the ruins for about 30 minutes; we only went to the top of the taller of the two towers, which was well lit with safe stone steps and a sturdy railing, then a non-covered top with high walls and great views. The entire area is quite sunny, so bring a hat or sunscreen during the summer months. These ruins have a fence with a gate surrounding it, which I'm sure is locked during closed hours, though the rest of the mountain is accessible 24/7 from what I could tell. These ruins alone would have been worth the 70 minute drive, but having the Thingstatte, St Stephen's monestary, and the well just added to the worth of the trip. I'm sure if we had stopped at the Biergarten I would have even more reason to say so! (not as fun being alone with three kids at a beer garden; maybe next time). Also take the time to explore the Keltenweg and Philosphenweg, which I didn't do given the circumstances, but wish I had known about them before coming and come a little earlier in the day. We did walk past the parking lot afterwards to visit the St Stephens monastery ruins and the old well, which were equally as interesting, and the tower had amazing views of Heidelberg. Overall, an absolute must see if you are anywhere in the area.
Advi Qual (5 months ago)
The way to the hill is steep. Good view of the area from the tower of ruins.
Mike Barin (6 months ago)
This site has been home to various stages of human culture dating back ~7000 years ago! Celts built a settlement there with a moat and rock wall defenses, the Romans conquered and built shrines to Jupiter and Mercury, and then you end with the Monastery (part of the Roman Shrine to Jupiter can be seen in the foundations). Great views from the towers, great location to immerse yourself in history!
Joshua Creech (7 months ago)
Very neat to see. Almost every room has a plaque that has an image and one or two words telling you what it was used for.
Alberto Montaner (5 years ago)
A very interesting archeological place. If you go by foot, it is really worth the walk. But there is also a road up to the old monastery.
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