Aura Abbey was a house of the Benedictine Order located at Aura an der Saale. Built on the site of an earlier castle, and dedicated to Saints Laurence and Gregory, it was founded by Bishop Otto of Bamberg between about 1108 and 1113; the foundation charter is dated 1122. The new foundation was settled by monks from Hirsau Abbey. The first abbot was Ekkehard of Aura, a monk from Bamberg, famous as the continuer of the Weltchronik of Frutolf of Michaelsberg. The Vögte were the Counts of Henneberg, although later the Bishop of Würzburg seems to have acquired some authority here.

In 1469 the abbey joined the Bursfelde Congregation, but suffered repeated disasters in the 16th century, including almost complete destruction by a rioting mob in 1525, and after rebuilding, a second destruction in 1553 during the second campaign of Albert Alcibiades, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. It was finally dissolved in 1564 and its assets transferred to the exchequer of the Diocese of Würzburg.

An attempt at a revival was started in 1617 by Prince-Bishop Gottfried von Aschhausen, but the project was abandoned at his death in 1622, leaving some impressive remains of the unfinished church.

Very little is left of the original monastery, except for the former abbey church of St. Laurence, which is still a significant Romanesque building, although with considerable alterations and additions from the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Founded: 1108-1122
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

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In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.

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