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Lorsch, a Carolingian monastery

Lorsch Abbey – where history comes to life and the Middle Ages feel close enough to touch

The King's Hall, old abbey walls, exhibition depot and Carolingian open-air laboratory: Lorsch Abbey has a unique way of bringing history to life and making it easy to understand. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is also mentioned in the Song of the Nibelungs, is an interactive museum dedicated to the Middle Ages.

It got off to a humble start: founded by aristocrats in around 764, the abbey saw economic growth only after the relics of Saint Nazarius were moved here from Rome. Gifts to St. Nazarius received from the North Sea to present-day Switzerland then added wealth to the abbey. Lorsch was a major cultural and political centre until the High Middle Ages.

The abbey has had a chequered past, which can be seen throughout the complex. For example in the Lauresham open-air laboratory, where life in a Carolingian village is depicted. Or in the exhibition depot, where visitors can see finds from 200 years of excavation history. As well as in the original abbey walls or within the complex, where the landscape architecture of the old and new abbey have been skilfully combined. In the King's Hall with its world-renowned colourful sandstone façades, where visitors can marvel at wall paintings dating back several centuries on the upper floor. Or in the herb garden, which is arranged according to the "Lorsch Pharmacopoeia", the oldest known German medical and pharmaceutical manual. The famous eighth century book has been kept in Bamberg State Library for more than 1,000 years now. The herbs, once praised for their healing powers, still thrive in Lorsch Abbey's herb garden to this day.

Lorsch Abbey

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm (also open on Mondays during bank holidays)

Entry: free to enter the grounds, but some services incur a charge and certain areas are accessible only on a tour

Nearest train station: Mannheim