Wettingen Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded in 1227 and dissolved during the secularisation of 1841, but re-founded at Mehrerau in Austria in 1854.

Count Heinrich II of Rapperswil bought lands in Wettingen sometime after 1220, and gave it the name Wettingen, believed to be named after his wife's family von Wetterau. He had married in 1220 to Mechtidis von Wetter, her brother was Count Lutold I von Wetter. And as well as the advowson of the village church. After being miraculously saved from shipwreck during the crusades, he gave his possessions in Wettingen to Salem Abbey, a Cistercian house in the north of the region around the Bodensee. The piece of land for the construction of the new buildings was given by the nunnery at Schänis. Eberhard of Rohrdorf, abbot of Salem, dispatched the twelve monks necessary for a new foundation and some lay-brothers under Konrad, the abbot-designate, previously Eberhard's deputy.

On 14 October 1227 the monks began building the monastery. In memory of their generous founder they also adopted the motto Non mergor (Latin for 'I do not sink'). From the beginning the abbey was able to add to its possessions: in Uri, in Zürich, in Riehen and above all in the valley of the Limmat in the area round Wettingen. In the Limmat valley the abbey possessed the authority of the low justice.

In the early 16th century however the abbey was greatly weakened by financial difficulties. On 11 April 1507 a fire destroyed parts of the monastery. The Infant Jesus of Wettingen, a painting on wood, miraculously escaped the devastating fire. In 1529 most of the monks converted to the reformed faith. After the Second War of Kappel of 1531 the Roman Catholic towns brought about the re-catholicisation of the monastery and until 1564 nominated the abbots themselves.

Under Abbot Peter Schmid (1594 to 1633) the abbey enjoyed a revival. The buildings were restored and extended. In 1604 a school of philosophy and theology was opened, and in 1671 a printing-press. During the Toggenburg Warof 1712 the monks were obliged to flee to central Switzerland for a period. In the turmoil after the French Revolution the abbey afforded shelter to thousands of political and religious refugees from France.

In 1803 the abbey came into the possession of the newly established Canton of Aargau, which initially gave assurances of its continuance, provided it maintained a school. From 1830 however the government of the canton made ever greater financial demands, until in 1834 it took over the administration of the abbey's assets, imposed a ban on the acceptance of novices and closed down the abbey school. On 13 January 1841 the cantonal parliament of Aargau decreed the dissolution of all monasteries in the Canton, which led to the troubles known as the Aargau Monastic Conflict.

Shortly afterwards the monks — among them Alberich Zwyssig, composer of the Swiss national anthem, the Swiss Psalm — were forced to leave the abbey. The extensive abbey library was taken over by the Aargau Canton Library. After some years of wandering the monks settled, on 8 June 1854, in the secularised monastery at Mehrerau in Bregenz in Austria, since known as Wettingen-Mehrerau Abbey.

The empty buildings at Wettingen were placed at the disposal of the teachers' training college. Since 1976 they have been used by the Wettingen Canton School. Roman Catholic services are held every week in the former abbey church, and weddings are also celebrated there.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1227
Category: Religious sites in Switzerland

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Niclas Granqvist (3 years ago)
A wonderful place to visit and just relax and enjoy beautiful and inspiring surroundings. The church is really worth a visit and it's filled with exquisite decorations. The closter garden has old and useful plants on display. There are many restaurants close by. The Gasthaus is the oldest in Switzerland.
Felix Küng (3 years ago)
it's lit
Uno Oien (3 years ago)
Beautiful building and surrounding
Ben Hoffman (4 years ago)
Very pretty, especially in summer.
Trevor Kilbey (4 years ago)
Historic church and teaching location
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Palazzo Colonna

The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.

The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).

With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).

Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.

The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.

The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.