Roggenburg Abbey is widely known for its almost unchanged Baroque building and the organ concerts that are held in the church. For over three centuries, Roggenburg was one of the 40-odd self-ruling imperial abbeys of the Holy Roman Empire and, as such, was a virtually independent state. Its abbot had seat and voice at the Imperial Diet where he sat on the Bench of the Prelates of Swabia.
In 1126 Count Bertold of Bibereck, together with his wife and his two brothers, Konrad, Bishop of Chur, and Siegfried, a canon in the diocese of Augsburg, founded the monastery. The first Premonstratensian canons came from Ursberg Abbey nearby and built the first monastery church.
In 1444 the foundation was raised to the status of an abbey. The first description of Roggenburg Abbey as reichsunmittelbar dates from 1482/5; the legal consolidation of this status took place in tiny stages over the first half of the 16th century.
In the 18th century the abbey and its dependent churches were rebuilt in the Baroque style, as they are today. The conventual buildings were rebuilt in 1732. Construction of a new church began in 1752, and lasted six years. In 1802 the monastery was occupied by Bavarian troops during the secularisation of Bavaria, dissolved, and the last abbot, Thaddäus Aigler, stripped of his office.
After dissolution in 1802 the abbey church became a parish church. The rest of the abbey's property passed into private ownership, except for the buildings, which were taken over by the Bavarian government. Until 1862 a district court and rent office were accommodated here. Later the buildings were used for a variety of functions, including as a school, a forestry office and a parochial office.
In 1986 Premonstratensians again occupied the premises. On 8 November 1992 the new community was raised to the status of an independent priory of Windberg Abbey. In the interval there had arisen a training centre for family, environment and culture, a museum and a centre for art and culture, as well as gastronomical facilities. In addition, the monastery shop sells devotional items, the monastery's own wine and various other products of their own manufacture.
The Baroque abbey church was built between 1752 and 1758 to plans by Simpert Kraemer in the shape of a cross. The hall church, with extended transept and double towers, is 70 metres long, 35 metres across and has an inside height, to the highest point, of 28 metres. Today it is used as the Roman Catholic parish church of the Ascension of the Virgin Mary.
The great Baroque organ by the Ulm organ builder Georg Friedrich Schmahl of 1761 was completely replaced in 1905 by a Late Romantic construction by the Gebrüder Hindelang of Ebenhofen. This was replaced in its turn in 1955–56, with the reuse of some registers, by an instrument by the Familie Nenninger. In 1984–86 it was extensively rebuilt by Gerhard Schmid of Kaufbeuren. The appearance of the organ by Schmahl was preserved throughout all rebuildings.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.