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Heiligenkreuz Abbey was founded in 1133 by Margrave Leopold III and belongs to the Cistercian order. It is located in Lower Austria, in the southern part of the Vienna Woods. Heiligenkreuz is one of the largest preserved to our days, monastery architectural complexes of the Middle Ages.
The monastery was consecrated in September 1133. In 1182, King Baldwin IV donated an important relic to Duke Leopold V - a cross with particles of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord. In 1188 Leopold V donated the cross to the Heiligenkreuz monastery, where it is still kept. So the monastery got its second name, the monastery of the Holy Cross. In 1187 the monastery church was built, and in the same year it was consecrated.
The Heiligenkreuz monastery was patronized by the Babenberg dynasty, thanks to which the abbey flourished and many subsidiary monasteries were founded in Austria, Bohemia and Hungary.
In the 15th-16th centuries, the abbey fell into decay due to epidemics, enemy invasions and frequent fires. In 1683, the Turks burned down the monastery, and a huge monastery library perished in the fire. After the Turks were defeated, the monastery was gradually restored. Many buildings of the monastery were rebuilt in the Baroque style.
In 1802, the Theological Institute was founded in the monastery, thanks to which, during the reign of Joseph II the monastery avoided closure.
From 1938 to 1945 the monastery was under threat of destruction. The Austrian National Socialists arrested some of the monks and took most of the territory from the abbey. After the end of the Second World War, everything was returned to the monastery.
13 members of the Babenberg dynasty are buried on the territory of the abbey.
Heiligenkreuz is currently active monastery, the monastic brethren of which numbers about 70 people. In 1976, the Theological Institute was transformed into a Philosophical and Theological Higher School, where more than 100 students are currently studying.
Tourists can visit the monastery only at a strictly allotted time.
Pope Benedict XVI visited Heiligenkreuz Abbey in autumn 2007.
The Austrian government has proposed to include Heiligenkreuz Abbey to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
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Topic: Heiligenkreuz Abbey in Austria, Lower Austria health resort.