Engelberg Abbey is a Franciscan monastery located on the hill above the town of Grossheubach. The hill spur on which the abbey is situated was likely used in prehistoric times as a cult site. Around 1300, a chapel dedicated to St. Michael was built there and a statue of Mary erected. The likely location of this chapel was where the choir of today"s church stands. The first documented pilgrimage occurred in 1406. In 1469, a brotherhood was established in connection with the Engelberg pilgrimage.

In 1630, Anselm Kasimir von Wambold, Archbishop of Mainz, asked Capuchins from the Rhenish Province to come here. The abbey was finished by 1639. At the same time the church was enlarged and largely achieved its current, Baroque, form. After 1647, the monastery had the status of Konvent. In 1697, the Antonius chapel was added. In 1701, a Gnadenbild der Freudenreichen Muttergottes from the mid-14th century, was erected in the right side-chapel.

When the German ecclesial states were securalized in the early 19th century in what is known as the German mediatization, Engelberg was initially not much affected. The acceptance of novices was forbidden, though, setting it up for eventual extinction. In 1817, the Gymnasium (school) was dissolved. However, in 1828, King Ludwig I of Bavaria ordered the monks to move to Aschaffenburg. The monastery was refounded, but Franciscans of the Bavarian Order Province took over in taking care of pilgrims.

A burial chapel for the Catholic branch of House Löwenstein was built next to the church. In 1899, the church was enlarged towards the west. A terrace was added as well as the room which today serves as a confessional chapel.

The pilgrimage continues today . Well into the post-WWII period, some pilgrims climbed the steps to the abbey on their knees while praying. The pilgrimage way through the vineyards from Grossheubach features 14 Baroque chapels and 14 Stations of the Cross from 1866.

The current set of mostly Baroque monastic buildings are quite simple architecturally, reflecting their origins during the Thirty Years" War. Back then, measured by its message, the most important work of art was the larger-than-life statue of St. Michael set above the church portal, created by Zacharias Juncker the Older around 1635. It references a much more significant statue of the saint created by Hubert Gerhard for the Michaelskirche at Munich. The statue at Engelberg was erected after the Protestant Swedish had been beaten and driven out of Franconia, turning the monastery into a monument to the resurrected power of the Catholic faith.

The church and some other areas of the monastery are open to visitors. The order runs a restaurant and shop in the buildings.

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Details

Founded: 1630s
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Thirty Years War & Rise of Prussia (Germany)

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dariusz Jankowski (3 years ago)
Nice walk and a very nice view over the river and town
Lena Sundlöf (3 years ago)
Nice walk and not too long walk. Peacefully situated, nice view and a café. Good beer.
Erik Gordon (3 years ago)
The kloster itself and the view are beautiful.. But the beer is superb.. I don't usually visit same place twice but I visited here twice for the beer. :) the foods are so so.. Eat it while drinking the beer.. It will taste better
Arkadiusz Krajewski (4 years ago)
The best beer's ever
Dagmar Haiku (4 years ago)
Lovely location. The view is awesome. The food is down to earth. Definitely worth a visit.
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