Reichersberg Abbey was founded in the 11th century, when nobleman Wernher von Reichersberg converted his possessions into a monastery. It has been owned by Augustinian Canons since then. The monastery flourished under the guidance of Gerhoh, the third Provost and an eminent theologian. While there, Gerhoh composed his commentary on the Psalms between 1144 and 1148, making much use of the earlier work of Gilbert of Poitiers.
The archbishop of Salzburg gave the abbey a pastoral area on what was then the Hungarian border, where the canons are active to this day. In the mid 16th century master Ulrich Lufftenecker became a teacher at the monastery, and taught students choral singing. Four printed choir books have survived from the second half of the 16th century.
The original monastery was relatively small, built in Romanesque-Gothic style. In 1624 it was destroyed by a fire. During the next years the current large Baroque replacement was erected. The outer courtyard of the monastery has a marble fountain crowned with a figure of St. Michael, the patron of the monastery, made by Thomas Schwanthaler. The Munich court painter Christian Wink completed the frescoes of the church in 1778-79.
In 1779 the monastery was assigned to Austria and thus escaped the secularization of Bavarian monasteries. During the Napoleonic Wars it had to struggle for its existence, but normal monastic activities resumed in 1817. During World War II the monastery was forced to provide a home for a flying school, but avoided being closed down.
Today Reichersberg Abbey has been renovated and is now a cultural center of the Innviertels. The monastery has an extensive library, holding 55,000 volumes. It holds a large collection of religious art, which can be viewed during guided tours. The monastery holds exhibitions, seminars and garden days. It has a shop, a wine shop and restaurant.References:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.