• St. John's Abbey, Schleswig
    St. John's Abbey, Schleswig ©Stadt Schleswig
  • St. Mary's Catholic Collegiate Church, Neuzelle
    St. Mary's Catholic Collegiate Church, Neuzelle ©Bernd Geller
  • Lorsch Abbey
    Lorsch Abbey ©Verwaltung der Staatlichen Schlösser und Gärten Hessen UNESCO-Welterbestätte Kloster Lorsch
  • Siessen Convent
    Siessen Convent ©Tourist-Information Bad Saulgau
  • Kamp Abbey
    Kamp Abbey ©Kloster Kamp
  • Waldsassen Cistercian Abbey
    Waldsassen Cistercian Abbey ©Zisterzienserinnen-Abtei Waldsassen
  • Walsrode Convent
    Walsrode Convent ©Kloster Walsrode
  • Alpirsbach Benedictine Abbey
    Alpirsbach Benedictine Abbey ©Tourist Information Alpirsbach
  • Corvey Abbey
    Corvey Abbey ©Kloster Corvey
  • Eberbach Cistercian Abbey
    Eberbach Cistercian Abbey ©Stiftung Kloster Eberbach
  • Isenhagen Convent
    Isenhagen Convent ©Kloster Isenhagen
  • Lüne Benedictine Abbey
    Lüne Benedictine Abbey ©Kloster Lüne, Lüneburg
  • Maulbronn Monastery
    Maulbronn Monastery ©Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg

The monks and their pioneering achievements in architecture

The abbeys, some like hilltop fortresses and others surrounded by high walls, were places of science, learning and culture in the Middle Ages. The importance of these impressive stone monuments is still palpable today.
Walsrode Convent
Oldest of the six heath abbeys – the more than 1,000-year-old Walsrode Convent

Founded in 986, Walsrode is one of the Lüneburg convents that became Protestant residences for noble ladies after the Reformation. Hidden away behind the red brick walls is a well-tended complex whose true beauty is only revealed on a guided tour with the nuns, taking in cultural treasures such as the colourful stained-glass windows created in around 1490 and the statue of the Christ Child.

Waldsassen Cistercian Abbey
Waldsassen Cistercian Abbey – influences that are specifically Cistercian in terms of both content and artistic style

Visitors are welcome at this convent on the Czech border, which houses a famous library of considerable art-historical importance, a nature discovery garden and a cultural and meeting centre offering a diverse programme of activities. The friendly atmosphere of St. Joseph's House makes it the ideal place to get away from it all (booking required), while accommodation is also available for tired pilgrims who reach the end of the Via Porta pilgrimage trail.

St. John's Abbey, Schleswig
St. John's Abbey, Schleswig – first a Benedictine convent, then a residence for noble ladies

Founded in around 1200, this former Benedictine convent has a wonderful air of calm and contemplation. The Romanesque abbey church, cloister, chapter hall and refectory with a traditional Bellmann organ, together with the North Elbe Bible Centre and Bible garden, create a remarkable historical ensemble that serves as a venue for concerts and exhibitions. Guided tours are available on request.

Siessen Convent
Siessen Franciscan Convent – home to the famous Hummel figurines

The attractive baroque abbey consists of St. Mark's Church, St. Dominic's House, the abbey chapel, the St. Francis garden and a meditation garden dedicated to the Canticle of the Sun, which was composed by St. Francis. A St. Francis festival is also held, while an exhibition room pays tribute to the nun and painter Maria Innocentia Hummel. Activities for children, young people and volunteers as well as other themed events are offered all year round.

St. Mary's Catholic Collegiate Church, Neuzelle
Neuzelle Cistercian Abbey – a masterpiece beyond compare in Lower Lusatia

Founded by Heinrich the Illustrious, Margrave of Meissen, in 1268, this pearl of baroque architecture with its lovely garden is a Brandenburg 'cultural beacon'. Visiting this important historical abbey with its two ornately decorated baroque churches and Gothic cloister, where exhibitions are held, is like following a trail from the Middle Ages through to the present day.

Maulbronn Monastery
Maulbronn Monastery – spirituality, grace, beauty and poetry in stone

A UNESCO World Heritage site, this mighty monastery complex near Karlsruhe bears all the hallmarks of the Middle Ages. The ascetic Cistercian architecture is a beauty to behold, both inside and out, and its effect is virtually impossible to resist. Concerts are regularly held here, while the three museums within the complex provide visitors from all over the world with fascinating information about the monastery's history. more »

Lüne Benedictine Abbey
Lüne Abbey – visit the heath abbey in Lüne and enter a different world

Founded in 1172 as a Benedictine convent and now a Protestant residence for noble ladies, Lüne Abbey near the old salt-producing town of Lüneburg is famous for its tapestry and embroidery work. The cloister, the church dating from 1412 and the nuns' chancel are all in good condition, as is the former dormitory. It is certainly worth taking a guided tour of this well preserved abbey with its medieval brick Gothic architecture and attending one of the many cultural events held here.

Lorsch Abbey
Lorsch Benedictine Abbey – an early medieval powerhouse and intellectual and cultural centre between Darmstadt and Worms

From a private monastery for the nobility to a royal abbey! This UNESCO World Heritage site with its famous King's Hall is referred to in architectural circles as the 'jewel of the Carolingian Renaissance' and is one of Germany's oldest completely preserved examples of post-Roman architecture. The museum centre, which includes a department exploring the abbey's history, offers guided tours and activities for adults and children. more »

Kamp Abbey
Kamp Abbey – a model for many subsequent abbeys

Dating from 1123, this abbey on the Lower Rhine was the first Cistercian abbey in Germany and even today remains a religious and cultural centre. It includes an impressive abbey church, a herb garden and baroque terraced garden as well as the abbey museum in the former St. Agatha's convent building. This holy site has attracted many visitors for its spirituality and culture. Informative guided tours for groups of 8 or more are available.

Isenhagen Convent
Isenhagen Convent – a heath abbey with a fascinating history

Founded as a Cistercian abbey on Lüneburg Heath in 1243, Isenhagen became a Protestant residence for noble ladies after the Reformation. Its Gothic brick buildings house a rich treasure trove dating back to the Romanesque period, including rare medieval furnishings, magnificent artworks and unique embroideries. The convent can be visited as part of a guided tour between 1 April and 15 October.

Eberbach Cistercian Abbey
Eberbach Abbey – a Cistercian jewel in the Rheingau and place of pilgrimage for wine lovers

This mystical legacy of the Cistercian monks is a splendid example of medieval abbey architecture. Once an abbey where monks took a vow of silence, it became the centre for wine-growing in the Rheingau during the Middle Ages and, thanks to its large wine estate, is inextricably linked with the history of wine. How about an entertaining guided tour or a delightful wine tasting with a walk round the abbey? You will be surprised what there is to see!

Corvey Abbey
Corvey Abbey and Palace – an imposing exterior with plenty of surprises within

Once one of the foremost Carolingian abbeys, Corvey is still of great interest from an architectural, cultural and historical viewpoint and is famous for its art treasures. It had one of the most valuable libraries in Germany and produced many bishops and abbots. The 1,200-year-old west end, the palace, abbey church and library together form an ensemble of cultural and historical significance.

Alpirsbach Benedictine Abbey
Alpirsbach Abbey: a jewel of Romanesque architecture with a colourful history

Visitors to the information centre in the former Benedictine abbey can learn about the abbey's history, monastery life in the Middle Ages and the Reformation and its consequences. Events and cloister concerts are also held. The abbey can be explored with or without a guide.

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