Scheyern Abbey was established in 1119 as the final site of the community originally founded in around 1077 at Bayrischzell by Countess Haziga of Aragon, wife of Otto II, Count of Scheyern, the ancestors of the Wittelsbachs. The first monks were from Hirsau Abbey, of which the new monastery was a priory, founded as it was against the background of the Investiture Controversy and the Hirsau Reforms. The original site proved unsuitable for a number of reasons, including difficulties with water supply, and the monastery moved in 1087 to Fischbachau. When that site too proved unsuitable, they moved to Petersberg, in 1104.
When Haziga, the widowed Countess of Scheyern, left Burg Scheyern in 1119 for Burg Wittelsbach, the castle from which the family subsequently took their name, the old castle, constructed in about 940, was given to the monks at Petersberg and became Scheyern Abbey, independent of Hirsau.
Scheyern was considered a Wittelsbach family monastery, which they used as a place of burial until 1253. The Wittelsbachs also retained the office of Vogt.
The dedication is to the Holy Cross and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary: the abbey has had in its possession since 1180 a relic of the Holy Cross from Jerusalem, and is still today a place of pilgrimage for this reason.
By the 13th century the abbey had already gained a reputation for its school of illumination and its scriptorium.
It suffered particularly severely in the Thirty Years' War and did not participate afterwards in the Baroque revival to the same extent as other monasteries in Bavaria. In the 18th century however it was refurbished in the style of the Rococo.
In 1802 the monastery came under the governance of the territorial rulers, and in 1803 was dissolved as part of the secularisation of Bavaria. The buildings were sold, and changed hands several times in a short period. In 1838 however under Ludwig I of Bavaria the monastery was re-established, and re-settled by monks from Metten Abbey; in 1843 it regained the status of an abbey. Between 1876 and 1878 the church, now serving both the community and the parish, was restored to the Romanesque style.
Scheyern now also possesses a Byzantine Institute, specialising in the works of Saint John of Damascus. It also enjoys historical links with Hungary.
Shortly after the re-establishment in 1838, a grammar school was opened. In 1939 all schools run by religious orders were closed, including Scheyern Abbey's. After World War II a humanistic Gymnasium was opened here. It was replaced however in 1970 by the Schyrengymnasium in Pfaffenhofen. Once the transfer to the new school was complete, the monastery set up a residential high school for vocational training, the Staatliche Berufsoberschule, a type of school which was considered very experimental at the time. It opened in 1976 and is still in operation.References:
The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.
In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.
The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.
From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.
As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).
Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.
Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.