The Imperial Abbey of Corvey is more than a UNESCO World Heritage Site: it embodies world culture. Both the abbey and palace are steeped in history and were once major seats of power. Nowadays, Corvey is a privately owned cultural gem in the Weser Uplands. And it is still a place of pilgrimage on the long road to Santiago de Compostela.
Corvey has never been just a residence for monks. Even the first abbey, founded around 822, was a spiritual, cultural and economic hub and a major driving force behind Christianisation in Europe. As imperial and prince-abbots and then as price-bishops, the clergy at Corvey had just as much political influence in the Kingdom of Germany within the Holy Roman Empire as the global princes of the 19th century later did.
The mighty towers and their entrance halls, magnificent murals featuring scenes from the Odyssey (parts of which are still intact), the Carolingian monastic precinct, the Civitas, and the former Baroque abbey church of St. Stephanus and Vitus bear witness to this glorious past. As do the Imperial Hall, which was built when the prince-abbots were in power, and the Princely Library with its 74,000 books dating back to the late 18th and early 19th century. Hoffmann von Fallersleben, who wrote the poem that became Germany's national anthem, is buried in the graveyard next to the church. He also managed the library for 14 years, with the aim of purchasing valuable and rare works that you can really "write home about". He was very successful in this role: the Princely Library is now one of Germany's largest private libraries.
Opening hours: 25 March to 31 October: 10am to 6pm
Nearest train station: Hanover
Tours also available in English, French, Spanish, Dutch and Danish; for more information on interactive themed tours, audio guides, the app and the museum workshop, visit:www.schloss-corvey.de