Historical and contemporary sites of religious faith
Religious museums will especially appeal to historians, religious visitors and those with an interest in culture. Exhibitions range from cathedral treasuries with exquisite liturgical silverware to modern Bible museums documenting the messages of the Bible in a contemporary format.
One of the largest and most innovative abbey museums in Europe: Walkenried Abbey in the southern Harz
This 13th-century Cistercian abbey takes visitors on a fascinating audiovisual journey back through the history of the White Monks. An audio guide provides information on the authentically preserved halls and rooms of the abbey and the illustrative museum exhibition. The special presentations incorporated into the original cloister, monks' hall and refectory blend in well with their surroundings, retaining the character of the buildings.
Baroque abbey with magnificent art treasures: Roggenburg Abbey Museum
The former Imperial Abbey of the Norbertine Order, founded in 1129 and situated near Ulm , has a stunning rococo church and, next to the church portal, a fascinating museum. Besides displaying numerous art treasures and works of sacred art (17th/18th centuries), the museum charts the history of the order down the ages and the monastic life led by its members.
Set in traditional abbey gardens, Europe's first museum devoted to abbey culture: Dalheim Abbey
This fully preserved abbey complex from the 15th century, a combination of architectural heritage and modern building design covering around eight hectares, illuminates the different aspects of abbey culture. The museum (approximately 3,000m²) is housed in the rooms of the abbey church and enclosure and features permanent exhibits as well as temporary exhibitions.
The first icon museum in eastern Germany, at Oberlichtenau Bible Garden
Situated next to the Oberlichtenau Bible Garden in the heritage-listed former house of the palace gardener, the Icon Museum explores the tradition of Eastern Christian painting. The highlight of the exhibition is an 8m² iconostasis created by icon painter M. Richter from 14 individual pictures that exactly replicates the iconostases found in Orthodox churches.
A mysterious destination that uncovers the secrets of the persecution of witches: Penzlin Castle
Housed in a 13th/14th-century castle near the Mecklenburg Lakes with underground dungeons of historical importance, the exhibition provides a fascinating insight into the times of witch-hunts and persecution in the 16th century. The chamber containing instruments of torture is where people were punished until they confessed. The banqueting hall and medieval open-hearth kitchen are also worth visiting.
A melodious connection between Heaven and Earth: German Bell Museum
The museum at Greifenstein Castle, which has almost 50 bells, takes visitors on a fascinating journey through the 1,000-year history of bells in Germany. It explains how bells are made and relates the history of bell founding right up to the present day. The exhibition also explores the symbolic meaning of bells for Christianity and their function as an acoustic signal in everyday life and in different cultural contexts.
From a hospital order to a purely ecclesiastical order of knights: Teutonic Order Museum in Bad Mergentheim
Mergentheim Castle served as the residence for the Grand Masters of the Teutonic Order from 1525 until 1809. Today it houses a museum dedicated to the order, which was founded as a hospital order in the Holy Land in 1190. The museum presents more than 800 years of history, showing the evolution of the Teutonic Order from an order of knights to a major force in medieval German politics, to the purely ecclesiastical order of the last century, and to its current social and charitable role.
Ziesar Castle, former bishop's residence near Brandenburg – a treasure of medieval religious and cultural history
The key feature of this museum of Brandenburg's religious and cultural history, situated near the town of Brandenburg , is the castle itself with its Nordic-style brick architecture. The castle chapel is inextricably linked with the museum. Highlights include the exhibition 'Paths to the Heavenly City: Bishops, Faith, Dominion (800-1550)' and a sound and light installation entitled 'Staged silence'. Guided tours available on request.