Heilsbronn Abbey was a Cistercian monastery at Heilsbronn founded in 1132–33 by Saint Otto of Bamberg. It was settled by monks from Ebrach Abbey, under the first abbot Rapotho. It was one of the wealthiest monasteries of Germany, with possessions around Franconia as far as Regensburg and in Württemberg. These rich endowments were mostly made by the dukes of Abenberg and their heirs, the Hohenzollern Burgraves of Nuremberg. It was the hereditary burial-place of the Hohenzollern family and ten burgraves of Nuremberg, five margraves and three electors of Brandenburg, besides many other persons of note, were buried here.
Heilsbronn was a flourishing monastery until the time of the Reformation. In 1530 Abbot John Schopper (1529–1540) founded a monastic school here, which later became a Protestant school for princes, and the doctrines of Luther gradually found favour in the monastery. His successor, Sebastian Wagner, openly supported Protestantism. He married and resigned in 1543. In 1549 Roman Catholicism was restored at Heilsbronn, but only ostensibly, and the abbey seems to have ceased to be a Catholic house in 1555, although it existed for some years longer. The last abbot who made any pretense to Catholic belief was Melchior Wunderer (1562–1578). The five succeeding abbots were Protestants, and in 1631 Heilsbronn ceased to be an abbey. Its valuable library was transferred to Erlangen.
The buildings of the monastery have mostly disappeared, with the exception of the fine church, known as Münster Heilsbronn, a Romanesque basilica, restored between 1851 and 1866, and possessing paintings by Albrecht Dürer.References:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.