With its Romanesque and early Gothic buildings, Eberbach Abbey is one of the most prominent art monuments in Europe. Yet the former Cistercian abbey has become a household name for its wines, which were once produced by the monks and have transformed the abbey into Germany's largest wine estate over the centuries.
There is no doubt that the 12th century abbey adopted "ora et labora" (pray and work) as its motto from the outset. Ultimately, the order's guideline states that monks should be able to live off their own work. This made Eberbach unattractive to aristocrats, so it became an abbey for non-noble classes and those who understood how to think in economic terms, even back in those days. Independent farmyards were established, and donations meant that the wine estate and agricultural commodities could be added. The abbey provided financial services, operated guest houses, and was converted into a women's prison, insane asylum and cattle shed over the centuries. After World War II, it was turned into a detention centre for refugees. It also became a tourist attraction back in the 19th century.
Valuable art objects, such as altars, went missing both in the Thirty Years' War and when the abbey was dissolved in 1803. Nevertheless, visitors can still see unique exhibits, such as a late Renaissance cabinet with Eberbach's coat of arms, 83 medieval gravestones or the only preserved stained-glass window from the medieval abbey church in the museum. Not to mention the 900-year-old legacy: the wine estate, whose grapes flourish in the best vineyards on the Hessian Mountain Road and in the Rheingau wine region. Give it a try! After all, you know what they say: in wine there is truth.
Opening hours: abbey box office and museum open every day from 10am to 6pm
Nearest train station: Wiesbaden
For more information on themed tours, tours for children, museum visits, wine (estate) tours, the hotel and restaurant, visit: