Monasteries in Germany
The Entdecke DE series takes you on a tour through Germany. This time we visit some monasteries.
Monasteries are places of tranquillity and spirituality. But ancient walls often conceal some quite worldly cultural enterprises and manufactories. A selection.
The Imperial Abbey of Corvey is a former Benedictine abbey. In 2014 it became a UNESCO world heritage site with the world’s oldest Carolingian Westwork and Civitas. The complex in Höxter, North-Rhine Westphalia, was once one of the most influential monasteries in the Franconian Realm. In medieval times pilgrims came here to visit the grave of St Vitus. Nowadays, lovers of literature visit the final resting place of the poet Hoffmann von Fallersleben or the ‘princely library’ with around 74,000 volumes.
Women’s power in Saxony-Anhalt: founded in 1229 close to the Lutheran city of Eisleben in the present-day diocese of Magdeburg, this Cistercian convent was always a place with strong women. In medieval times it was home to mystics, such as St Mechthild or St Gertrude the Great. It advanced to become the centre of women’s mysticism and divine experience.
“Holy Mary has helped.” The walls of Andechs Monastery are studded with short messages from grateful believers. The Benedictine abbey on the ‘holy mountain’ is the second largest pilgrimage place in Bavaria after Altötting. Visitors’ taste buds are often stimulated when they take a tour of the famous monastery brewery. There are seven different varieties of Andechs beer.
The former Cistercian abbey near Eltville in Rheingau was one of the oldest and most important Cistercian monasteries in Germany. Founded in 1136, Eberbach Monastery is now home to Germany’s largest winery, the Hessische Staatsweingüter. Eberbach Monastery rose to international fame with the filming of Umberto Eco’s bestseller The Name of the Rose starring Sean Connery.
Maria Laach Abbey
Monastic life in the Eifel region is characterized by craftsmen and artist monks. In 2015 Maria Laach Benedictine Abbey actually created its own label ‘Lacensia’, under which it sells such things as ceramic items from the manufactory, or textiles from the monastery’s sewing workshop. The monastery complex dating from the high Middle Ages lies on the shores of Laacher See and is also well-known for its splendid Romanesque basilica.