Tegernsee Abbey, officially known as St. Quirinus Abbey for its patron saint St. Quirinus, was founded either in 746 or around 765 AD. It was settled by monks from St. Gall and dedicated to Saint Quirinus of Rome, whose relics were brought here from Rome in 804. Soon, the monastery spread the message of Christianity as far as the Tyrol and Lower Austria. Until 1803, it was the most important Benedictine community in Bavaria.
After the fall of Tassilo III, Duke of Bavaria (748-788), Tegernsee became a Carolingian Empire royal monastery during the Carolingian Renaissance. The community was greatly weakened by Hungarian raids and by repeated attempts at secularisation during the reign of Arnulf I, Duke of Bavaria (907-937) and in the course of the 10th century suffered a sustained decline, culminating in the fire of around 970.
Restored and re-founded, however, under Emperor Otto II (973-983) as an Imperial Abbey in 978, and re-settled by monks from St. Maximin's Abbey, Trier, Tegernsee entered a new period of growth. With the activities of the monk Froumund (1006-1012) and Abbot Ellinger (1017-1026 and 1031-1041), the abbey became a centre of literature, manuscript production and learning, and was also active in the resettlement of other Benedictine houses in Bavaria, including the newly founded abbey of Saints Ulrich and Afra in Augsburg in c. 1012.
This golden age of the abbey lasted almost to the end of the 12th century. Many literary and scientific works produced at that time. Tegernsee was largely spared the political and ecclesiastical confusions arising from the conflict between Pope Alexander III (1159-1177) and Emperor Frederick II, and even managed to acquire substantial privileges from both pope and emperor. However, despite those privileges and its early status as an imperial abbey, Tegernsee lost that status as it was never able to effectively enjoy Imperial immediacy. Therefore, it remained subordinate to Bavaria throughout its existence.
The shape of the future was made plain with the appointment of Abbot Manegold of Berg, son of the Count of Berg, to this Bavarian abbey in 1189, as the result of political intrigue by the Counts of Andechs, Vögte (lords protectors) of Tegernsee, and Bishop Otto of Freising. The political and economic interests of the noble families of Berg, Andechs and Hohenstaufen, now came to dominate the abbey and as a result, it declined during the 13th and 14th centuries into little more than a private monastery dependent on a small number of noble families. To make matters worse, it burnt down in 1410.
However, in 1426, Tegernsee received a Visitation from the Vicar-General, Johannes Grünwalder, which marked a new beginning. Over the next decades, with the support of the Papal Legate Cardinal Nikolaus von Kues, it became a focus of the Reforms of Melk Abbey, which opened Benedictine houses hitherto restricted to the nobility to a wider range of social classes. In 1455, monks of Tegernsee settled Andechs Abbey and were appointed abbots at Benediktbeuern, Oberalteich, Wessobrunn and others. In 1446, a Passion altar was dedicated. Johannes Keck (who was the Tegernsee delegate at the Council of Basle and died in 1450) wrote a work on music, and the Prior of Tegernsee, Bernhard von Waging (d. 1472) composed his mystical writings.
This second flowering continued into the Early Modern period. From 1573, the monastery had its own printing press, which thanks to Imperial privileges was allowed to print many books on theology, liturgy and the theory of music. The community survived the confusion of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), when the abbey was raided by Swedish soldiers. Tegernsee Abbey was also a prominent member of the Benedictine Bavarian Congregation, established in 1684.
During the abbacy of Abbot Benedikt Schwarz (to 1787), the first signs began to show of the secularisation which eventually took place on 17 March 1803, thus bringing the abbey to an end. Gregor Rottenkolber, the last Abbot of Tegernsee, died on 13 February 1810. The greater part of the site was bought by Baron Drechsel for his brewery, but he later sold a small part back to an unofficial monastic community, who remained until 1861.
The buildings of the monastery itself were acquired in 1817 by king Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria and later became a possession of the Dukes in Bavaria (a side branch of the ruling Wittelsbach family, the kings of Bavaria), attracted by the unusually beautiful location, and turned it into their summer residence. Known since then as Schloss Tegernsee, it is still the property of that family, the present owner is Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria.
The former Carolingian style abbey church built at the end of the 10th century had been converted in the 11th to a Romanesque basilica, which in its turn had been re-fashioned between 1455 and 1460 into a Gothic church. The monastic buildings and the church were refurbished in the Baroque style between 1684 and 1688.References:
Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.
At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.
During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.
In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.
The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.
The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.
After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.
When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.