St. Emmeram's Abbey

Regensburg, Germany

St. Emmeram's Abbey, now known as Schloss Thurn und Taxis, was a Benedictine monastery founded in about 739 at the grave of the itinerant Frankish bishop Saint Emmeram.

Saint Wolfgang, who was made bishop in 972, ordered that a library be constructed at St. Emmeram shortly after his arrival in Regensburg. An active scriptorium had existed at St. Emmeram in the Carolingian period, but it is not known whether it occupied a special building, and it appears that relatively few manuscripts of poor quality were produced there during the early tenth century. Over time, some works in the scriptorium were copied by monks, some works were preserved from the Carolingian period, and others were acquired as gifts.

In 1295 the counter-king Adolf of Nassau and granted St. Emmeram's as Imperial abbey, an independent sovereign power subject directly to the emperor.

After a decline in its significance during the 16th century the abbey enjoyed a resurgence in the 17th and 18th centuries under abbots Frobenius Forster, Coelestin Steiglehner, Roman Zirngibl and Placidus Heinrich, great scholars, particularly in the natural sciences. Under their leadership the abbey academy came to rival the Münchner Akademie. St. Emmeram's had a long tradition of scientific enquiry dating from the Middle Ages, in witness of which the monastery preserved the astrolabe of William of Hirsau.

In 1731, the abbots were raised to the status of Princes of the Empire. Between 1731 and 1733 there followed the magnificent Baroque refurbishment, by the Asam brothers, of the abbey church, which had been repeatedly burnt out and repaired.

In 1803, St. Emmeram's, along with the Imperial City of Regensburg, the Bishopric of Regensburg and the two other Imperial Abbeys, lost its previous politically independent status to the newly formed Principality of Regensburg, often referred to as the Archbishopric of Regensburg, under the former Prince-Primate Carl Theodor von Dalberg. After the Treaty of Paris of 1810, the entire Principality of Regensburg was transferred to Bavaria. The treasures of St. Emmeram's and its valuable library were mostly removed to Munich.

In 1812 the monastic buildings were granted to the Princes of Thurn und Taxis, who had St. Emmeram's Abbey converted as a residence known from then on as Schloss Thurn und Taxis, sometimes called Schloss Sankt Emmeram.

The abbey church became a parish church before Pope Paul VI accorded the status of a basilica minor in 1964. The Romanesque basilica with three aisles, three choirs and a west transept is based on an original church building from the second half of the 8th century. Since that time it has been many times partly destroyed and rebuilt. The oldest extant part of the building is the ring crypt under the choir of the northern aisle. The three medieval carved stone reliefs on the north portal, dating from about 1052, the oldest of their type in Germany, represent Christ, Saint Emmeram and Saint Denis. The west transept has a painted wooden ceiling depicting Saint Benedict of Nursia. The crypt of Saint Wolfgang is beneath the choir of Saint Denis. Next to Saint Denis's altar in the northern aisle is the tomb of Emma, Queen of the East Franks (died 876), let into the wall. The high altar dates from 1669.

St. Rupert's church was formerly the parish church of the monastery. The church, with two aisles, was constructed in the second half of the 11th century, but was frequently adapted and enlarged. The nave is from the 14th century, the choir from 1405, the high altar with four pillars and a picture of the baptism of Duke Theodo of Bavaria by Saint Rupert from 1690 and the decoration and fittings from the 17th and 18th centuries. The tabernacle on the north side of the choir has figures of Saint Rupert and other saints. The altar of Saint Michael dated from 1713. The nave is decorated with pictures of the miracles of Saint Rupert.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 739 AD
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Part of The Frankish Empire (Germany)

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Lina Che (3 months ago)
Very nice interior. Free enter. You can visit few rooms
David Dancey (16 months ago)
A brooding and beautiful church building in a wealthy monastery. Filled with lavish tombs in the dark Baroque splendour, this monastery church is peaceful, creepy, and wonderful all at once. The preserved corpses of saints in glass coffins make it a little macabre, but for those who are into it, it is well worth visiting.
8D (2 years ago)
Includes older, Romanesque parts.
BradJill (2 years ago)
One of the most interesting historic churches we visited recently in Regensburg is that St. Emmeram, a Basilica minor located at Emmeramsplatz next to the Thurn and Taxis Palace. The church history dates back to 780AD and is considered a National Shrine in Bavaria. There are quite a few interesting things to see at St. Emmeram. The church is a mixture of Romanesque and Baroque architecture. The main portion of the church nave dates back to the 8th-century but was given a High Baroque makeover by the regionally important Bavarian architects Asam Brothers in the early 18th-century. The high altar, pulpit, ceiling fresco and numerous decorations with gilding create a beautiful interior. There is a 11th-century crypt with important tombs in the back that is worth a quick visit. Given the church age, its worth reading up on its history before or during your visit. This will help create context to what you are seeing at St. Emmeram Basilica in Regensburg.
Will and Alex Travel (3 years ago)
One of my favorite things to show friends visiting Regensburg! Really beautiful interior with some cool altars.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Saint-Eustache

The Church of St Eustace was built between 1532-1632. St Eustace"s is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here in the 17th century. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.

The origins of Saint Eustache date back to 13th century. The church became a parish church in 1223, thanks to a man named Jean Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby, as granted by King Philip Augustus. To thank such divine generosity, Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name of the church refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general of the second century AD who was burned, along with his family, for converting to Christianity, and it is believed that it was the transfer of a relic of Saint Eustache from the Abbey to Saint-Denis to the Church of Saint Eustache which resulted in its naming. Jeanne Baptiste d"Albert de Luynes was baptised here.

According to tourist literature on-site, during the French Revolution the church, like most churches in Paris, was desecrated, looted, and used for a time as a barn. The church was restored after the Revolution had run its course and remains in use today. Several impressive paintings by Rubens remain in the church today. Each summer, organ concerts commemorate the premieres of Berlioz’s Te Deum and Liszt’s Christus here in 1886.

The church is an example of a Gothic structure clothed in Renaissance detail. The church is relatively short in length at 105m, but its interior is 33.45m high to the vaulting. At the main façade, the left tower has been completed in Renaissance style, while the right tower remains a stump. The front and rear aspects provide a remarkable contrast between the comparatively sober classical front and the exuberant rear, which integrates Gothic forms and organization with Classical details. The L"écoute sculpture by Henri de Miller appears outside the church, to the south. A Keith Haring sculpture stands in a chapel of the church.

The Chapel of the Virgin was built in 1640 and restored from 1801 to 1804. It was inaugurated by Pius VII on the 22nd of December, 1804 when he came to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon. The apse chapel, with a ribbed cul-de-four vault, has at its centre a sculpture of the Virgin and Child of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle that the painter Thomas Couture highlighted by three large paintings.

With 8,000 pipes, the organ is reputed to be the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organs of Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ originally constructed by P.-A. Ducroquet was powerful enough for the premiere of Hector Berlioz" titanic Te Deum to be performed at St-Eustache in 1855.