Weltenburg Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded by monks of the Hiberno-Scottish mission around 620 AD. It is held to be the oldest monastery in Bavaria. According to tradition, the abbey was founded in 617 by Agilus and Eustace of Luxeuil, both students of Columbanus. Reportedly during the first half of the 8th century, the abbey took on the rules of the Benedictine order and was supported by Tassilo III.

By 932 at the latest, the abbey was under control of the Bishop of Regensburg. Wolfgang of Regensburg had a residence built on the Frauenberg above today's abbey. The abbey church (replaced in 1716) was consecrated in 1191, a single nave building with a crypt. Under abbot Konrad V (1441-50), the church, abbey buildings were renovated and life in the abbey reformed.

It was not until the 18th century, that Weltenburg Abbey rose to prominence under abbot Maurus Bächl (1713-43). To his period date the current monastery courtyard with its Baroque buildings, the highlight of which is the abbey church, dedicated to Saint George, which was built by the Asam Brothers between 1716 and 1739.

Following a confiscation of the abbey's silver and a ban on accepting novices, the abbey was officially dissolved on 18 March 1803 during the secularization of Bavaria. The abbey brewery and other economy buildings found buyers, but the church and convent could not be sold. In 1812, they became the parish house, school, teacher house and parish church for Weltenburg village.

On the initiative of King Ludwig I, Weltenburg was re-founded as a priory of Metten Abbey on 25 August 1842. It renovated the convent and repurchased other properties, including the brewery. It has been a member of the Bavarian Congregation of the Benedictine Confederation since 1858 and was raised to the status of an independent abbey in 1913. The chapel underwent extensive restoration from 1999-2008.

Besides the traditional duties of hospitality, the abbey has pastoral responsibility for two parishes. It is also active in farming and in adult education. It hosts conferences and lectures as well as concerts. The abbey is open to the public, except for the part reserved for the monks.

Weltenburg Abbey brewery (Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei) is by some reckonings the oldest monastic brewery in the world, having been in operation since 1050, although the title is disputed by Weihenstephan Abbey. Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel was given the World Beer Cup award in 2004, 2008 and 2012 as the best Dunkel beer in the world. One wing of the abbey which faces the Danube river houses a large restaurant on the ground floor operated by a tenant. The traditional Bavarian menu includes the abbey's cheese and beer, and guests are also served in the monastery courtyard, which houses a large open-air biergarten during the warmer months.

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Details

Founded: 617 AD
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Part of The Frankish Empire (Germany)

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Hilda Martinez (15 months ago)
We went there with family to tour the grounds and to have some lunch. We parked a mile or so away and walked the rest of the way. The walk was beautiful which was along the river. The river rocks were so pretty. We entered Weltenburg and we're struck immediately with it's beauty. The church was amazing. I didn't choose very wisely during lunch and did not like what I chose.
Tom Rueb (2 years ago)
Very interesting interior with stained glass and the wall paintings. Our guide pointed out many of the details. Went to a pub near by and the dark beer was the best. River was pretty low so you could walk quite a bit on the river bed.
Lesley Shlala (2 years ago)
This is a MUST see if your in this part of Germany - just walking down the road towards the abbey is exciting, when you arrive your won't be disappointed. The history behind this abbey & church is what make it all the more enticing. There is a church within the abbey grounds where you look at the front face and it's plain but you want to go in - when you do your mouth will drop open - this church with workmanship within is just stunning & awe inspiring. I remember being told only 5 kilos of gold gild was used within but it seems so much more - the frescos on the side walls & the ceiling stunning - my attached pictures won't do it justice - see it with your own eyes - it won't disappoint. Oh it's right on the Danube River so it again makes it more beautiful.
Chris Grumbine (2 years ago)
Beautiful location. An amazing church designed by a baroque master. Great beer that is almost as good as the Trappist monks.
bryan dani (2 years ago)
Wow. Did a tour of the Abbey on our trip. So beautiful. Had fresh made beer. Not a beer fan, but I have to say it is absolutely delicious. The people were very kind, always smiling and happy to answer our questions. Will return if we ever get to travel to Germany again.
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