Hirsau Abbey in Germany (Topic)

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Hirsau Abbey in Germany

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Hirzau Abbey – monastery of the Benedictine order, located in the south-west of Germany. During the early Middle Ages, Hirsau Abbey was the largest and one of the most influential in today's Germany. At the end of the 11th century, Gregorian church reforms were carried out from here, the abbey became the largest in terms of territory occupied in Germany, Austria, Alsace and Switzerland. Later, at the end of the 17th century, during the War of the Palatinate Succession, the monastery was burned down by the French. Therefore, today only the chapel of St. Mary and the"Owl Tower" have survived from the monastery buildings.

The first church buildings appeared here in 765 - the chapel of St. Nazarius was built. Soon, in 830 year, the relics of St. Aurelius were brought here from Milan. Under this chapel, the Aurelian monastery was formed, which existed   until the beginning of the XI century, when it was abandoned. In 1049, by order of Pope Leo IX, who visited Hirzau, the remains of St. Aurelius were found. In 1059, the Pope's nephew, Count Adalbert Kalvsky, began building a new monastery. A basilica with two towers and a Romanesque colonnade was rebuilt and, just to the south, a building for monks. In 1092 the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul was founded. Thus, the construction of all the constituent parts of the abbey was completed by the middle of the XII century.

The abbey is experiencing a new heyday in the middle of the XV century, the restoration of the outer walls was carried out. By the first quarter of the 16th century, new Gothic buildings were being built in Hirzau. But in 1536, as a result of the Reformation, the abbey was deprived of its spiritual status, and the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul was transformed into a Lutheran community. In 1584, part of the monastery buildings and the church were demolished, the rest of the buildings were used as barns, warehouses, exercise rooms, etc. At the same time, the dukes of Wurttemberg built a palace in the Renaissance style. During the Thirty Years' War, the abbey again became Catholic, and the Benedictine monks returned here. In the next few decades, the abbey passed from Catholics to Protestants and vice versa. At the dawn of the 18th century, the surviving chapel of St. Mary is used by the Lutheran community as its own church. At the end of the 19th century,   significant changes, applying the neo-gothic style. During this period, archaeological excavations were actively carried out here, as a result of which a rich scientific material was collected about the history, life and architecture of the medieval abbey.

Since 1991, the monastery museum has been operating, in which findings of scientists are presented and other evidence of the history of the monastery. Both the museum and the abbey are open to tourists.


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Topic: Hirsau Abbey in Germany.Hirsau Abbey in Germany

Author: Kelly Costine