Plankstetten Abbey was founded in 1129 as a private monastery of the bishops of Eichstätt by Count Ernst of Hirschberg and his brother Gebhard of Hirschberg, Bishop of Eichstätt. The Romanesque crypt remains from the time of the foundation.
After the decline in monastic standards in the 15th century, the abbey was reformed by Abbot Ulrich IV Dürner (1461–94), who also founded the brewery. The abbey was badly damaged during the German Peasants' War (1525) and again in the Thirty Years' War (1618–48).
Major buildings works in the Baroque style were undertaken from the end of the 17th century. Under Abbot Romanus Dettinger (1694–1703), he created the entrance gateway with the abbot's lodging above it, the Prelates' Hall and the Banqueting Hall, as well as the corner tower on the way to the inner courtyard. The next abbot, Dominikus II Heuber (1704–11), continued the building works with the move of the sacristy and the construction of the new brewery (now the library).
Later in the century, Abbot Dominikus IV Fleischmann (1757–92) undertook the refurbishment of the abbey church. The crossing chapels are due to him; their stucco work was carried out by Johann Jakob Berg, stucco master to the court of Eichstätt. Dominikus IV was also responsible for the guesthouse opposite the main gateway.
In 1806, in the course of the secularisation of Bavaria, the monastery was dissolved and the buildings and estates auctioned off. As early as 1856, there were plans to re-found the abbey, but these came to nothing, as the government authorities refused to give the necessary consents.
Finally, in 1904, thanks to the financial support of the Barons Cramer-Klett, Plankstetten was re-settled as a priory of Scheyern Abbey and was raised again to the status of abbey in 1917. In 1958, a 'Realschule' with a boarding house was opened in Bavaria. The school closed in 1988. This caused the abbey to re-examine their role and possible options, and the community now runs a training centre, a monastery shop, a farm, a nursery for plants, a butchery and a bakery, which have been organic since 1994. The boarding facilities are now used as a guesthouse.References:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.