One of Tirol’s true architectural gems is the splendid Cistercian Abbey of Stams, founded in 1273 by Count Meinhard II of Gorizia-Tyrol.
During the 16th-century Protestant Reformation and German Peasants' War the monastic community decayed. In the course of the 1552 rebellion against Emperor Charles V, the premises were plundered by the troops of Elector Maurice of Saxony; even the grave of Maurice' brother Severinus was destroyed. The monastery was largely rebuilt in its present-day Baroque style from the early 17th century onwards, including Wessobrunner stuccowork by Franz Xaver Feuchtmayer.
Set in pristine grounds, the monumental façade is easily recognized by its pair of silver cupolas at the front. The exuberant interiors can be admired within a guided tour: Crane your neck to marvel at ceilings adorned with rich stuccowork and elaborate frescoes and view elaborate iron grilles in the collegiate church. Among the Monastery’s most impressive possessions are Bernardi Hall, the Chapel of the Holy Blood and the “Prelates' Staircase”. Afterwards, you are strongly recommended to visit the Abbey's shop that offers a unique range of goods from homemade jams and honey to distinct monastic drinks and produce.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.