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"Lorsch Monastery" Lorsch Abbey - Monastery Tip by Kathrin_E

Lorsch Abbey - Monastery, Lorsch: 5 reviews and 19 photos

  What's left of the abbey church
by Kathrin_E
  • What's left of the abbey church - Lorsch
      What's left of the abbey church
    by Kathrin_E
  • Pronze plate with the ground plan - Lorsch
      Pronze plate with the ground plan
    by Kathrin_E
  • St Nazarius on an ivory book cover in the museum - Lorsch
      St Nazarius on an ivory book cover in the museum
    by Kathrin_E

A first Benedictine monastery was founded after 760 in the location now named Altenmünster on the bank of the river Weschnitz. The first monks came from Gorze near Metz. After a few years the monastery moved 600 m further west onto the top of a low hill, so the birth date of Lorsch Abbey is 767. Due to quarrels among the founders’ heirs about the possessions, abbot and convent decided to give the monastery to King Charlemagne as royal property in 772. The abbey remained subject of the kings resp. emperors and no one else. In later centuries this lead to its status as imperial abbey, thus political independence.

The monastery received countless donations of real estate and adscript in the early middle ages, and soon became one of the wealthiest and most influential abbeys in the Holy Roman Empire. It was a centre of arts and sciences and owned a well-equipped library. The scriptorium produced illustrated manuscripts of highest quality. The patron saints were St Peter and Paul and St Nazarius. The relics of the latter were kept in Lorsch and the place became a centre of pilgrimage.

After a period of decay Lorsch lost its independence and became property of the Archbishop of Mainz in the 13th century. It was then turned into a Premonstratensian convent. From the mid 15th century it belonged to Palatinate.

In the reformation the monastery was closed down. The church and convent buildings were severely damaged during the 30 Year War and never rebuilt. The remnants were later used as a quarry; most of the church was taken down. Even the demolition of the Gate Hall was decided upon, but after Hessen-Darmstadt took over the government in 1802/3 it was saved.

Not much is left of the monastery building. Of the church, only a fragment of the nave remained. This building is under restoration and behind scaffolding at the moment (summer 2010) and not accessible. Apart from that, only the surrounding wall and the big barn still exist. Excavations have shed light on the size and location of the other abbey buildings. The grounds can be walked for free any time.

Address: Nibelungenstraße, 64653 Lorsch
Directions: Town centre

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jul 17, 2010
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