The island of Reichenau in Lake Constance is a man-made landscape that provides an excellent example of the religious and cultural role played by a large Benedictine abbey in the Middle Ages.
The three Romanesque churches on the island illustrate monastic architecture from the 9th to the 11th century. Their wall paintings show Reichenau to be an artistic centre of great importance in European art history during the 10th and 11th centuries. In 724 AD, the itinerant bishop Pirmin founded a Benedictine abbey on the island. From the 8th to the 11th century, this imperial abbey became one of the spiritual centres of the western world. Eminent scholars taught at the renowned abbey school, which produced outstanding the ologians, politicians, scientists, poets and musicians. The abbey library, the Reichenau school of art (manuscript illuminationand murals) and the goldsmith’s art were also highly acclaimed.