UNESCO 2013

Lorsch Abbey

The King's Hall at the former Lorsch Abbey in Hessen is a late Carolingian construction, probably built in the middle of the 9th century under Louis the German. Together with the other buildings and archaeological remains of the medieval abbey complex, the building was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991 as the last remaining section of the Carolingian abbey still visible from above ground.

The famous gate hall or 'king's hall' is one of Germany's most important pre-Romanesque architectural relics. With its arcades, pilasters and half-columns, it is lauded as a jewel of the Carolingian Renaissance. To this day, no one is sure about the original purpose of the building. Perhaps it was a library, a court, a banqueting hall or a reception hall – or all of these together. Whatever the case, the proud king's hall has retained its original appearance over the centuries and still represents the lost grandeur of what was once a mighty Benedictine abbey at Lorsch. Founded in around 764 during the reign of King Pippin, the father of Charlemagne, the abbey was a centre of power, spirituality and culture in the Holy Roman Empire until well into the High Middle Ages. It once housed one of the largest libraries of the Middle Ages; the Lorsch Pharmacopoeia dating from the late 8th century, which is seen as marking the beginnings of modern medicine, was designated part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2013. In the early Middle Ages, medicine was based on herbs and folk remedies. With its extensive herb garden, Lorsch Abbey was a renowned place of healing at this time. The abbey celebrates its 1,250th anniversary in 2014, an excellent opportunity for various celebrations from 17 to 20 July 2014 and for temporary exhibitions, theatre performances and concerts. The World Heritage Park will also be opened in spring 2014 as a new addition to the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Opening times, tours and tips

Lorsch Museum Centre with temporary exhibitions: Tuesday to Sunday: 10am to 5pm

Further information: www.kloster-lorsch.de

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