Oberalteich Abbey

Oberalteich, Germany

Oberalteich Abbey, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, was founded in c. 1100 by Count Frederick of Bogen, a lord protector of Regensburg cathedral. After a serious fire in 1245 the premises were re-constructed under abbots Heimo (1247 to 1252) and Purchard (1256 to 1260). Under abbot Friedrich II (1346 to 1358) the abbey was fortified. The church was extensively altered in the time of abbot Johann II Asperger (1438 to 1463). The medieval monastery complex was modernised by abbot Veit Höser (1604 to 1634), which was followed by a total baroque refurbishment from 1682-1721.

The abbey was dissolved in 1803 during the secularisation of Bavaria, and the monastery buildings were disposed of. Accommodation for the local priest and a servant were set up in part of them.

The abbey church of Saints Peter and Paul was rebuilt between 1622 and 1630 and is richly decorated. The baroque high altar dates from 1693. The church of the former abbey became the parish church in 1803. In 1847 the tombs and monuments were removed from the church and taken to Vilshofen where they were used for the construction of a dam.

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Details

Founded: c. 1100
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

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The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

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In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

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