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General " Monasteries in Saale-Unstrut - where the Middle Ages celebrated their heyday
General " Monasteries in Saale-Unstrut - where the Middle Ages celebrated their heyday

Monasteries in Saale-Unstrut - where the Middle Ages celebrated their heyday

Monasteries in Saale-Unstrut - Memleben Monastery © Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Transmedial
Monasteries in Saale-Unstrut - Memleben Monastery © Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Transmedial

How to find the monasteries in Saale-Unstrut

The landscape in Saale-Unstrut is characterised by monasteries steeped in history, which today continue to be used in a variety of ways and are, among other things, places of experience for travellers, artists and you. Monks and nuns from the monasteries in Saale-Unstrut have left a lasting mark on the region to this day with their knowledge of architecture, education and agriculture. Without them, Saale-Unstrut would not be a wine-growing region today, because it was the brothers and sisters who established viticulture here. So how about a trip to the monasteries in Saale-Unstrut?

The monastery world in Saale-Unstrut

Since the time of the Ottonian rulers in the 10th century, branches of the Christian orders have been established.
As the place of death of Henry I and Otto the Great, Memleben gained enormous historical significance, which the museum conveys today with interactive stations. The Pforta Monastery is now home to the Schulpforte State School. In Petersberg, the monastery grounds are open for a visit, while in Stadtroda you can follow in the footsteps of the Cistercians. Goseck Castle and Zscheiplitz Monastery captivate not only with their views but also with their grounds, Sankt Claren looks back on a chequered history of use and today creative people and those with a thirst for knowledge gather at Posa Monastery. All in all, the monasteries in Saale-Unstrut offer great diversity and variety for your stay.

Colour windows in the Romanesque crypt in Memleben (c) Daniel Remler
Colour windows in the Romanesque crypt in Memleben (c) Daniel Remler

Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace

Memleben is one of the oldest monasteries in the Saale-Unstrut region. It is a testimony to Romanesque architecture and was founded in 973. The place of death of King Henry I and Emperor Otto the Great impresses with its completely preserved crypt and a dreamlike monastery garden. In the former Benedictine monastery you can learn everything about monastic life interactively. The monastery café tempts you with small meals and drinks. And if you are looking for a special place to spend the night, you can sleep in a monastery cell and recreate life in the Middle Ages.

Experience tips
Even today, the Benedictines from Münsterschwarzach Abbey invite visitors to pray in the crypt under the motto "Enlivened Monastery". The dates vary and can be found on the homepage of Memleben Abbey.

The Special exhibition "The Emperor's Heart" opens on 11 March 2023 and gives you an insight into the past of the monastery and the imperial palace of Memleben.

"Living monastery" is the name of the event for young and old, where you can dive into the past as a group. In addition to a guided tour, you will take part in a monastery meal and work like a monk once did. Could we arouse your curiosity a little?

Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace with Monastery Ruins and Monastery Garden (c) Memleben Monastery
Memleben Monastery and Imperial Palace with Monastery Ruins and Monastery Garden (c) Memleben Monastery

Pforta Monastery - former Cistercian monastery

Located near the Saale River, the Cistercian monastery of St. Marien zur Pforte, built in 1137, invites you to visit. The church, the enclosure areas and the monastery grounds are freely accessible. The region owes its vineyards on the opposite bank of the Saale to the monks of the Saale-Unstrut monasteries, including those of Pforta Monastery. Among other things, they farmed the nearby Köppelberg. In addition, the monastery grounds are home to the Landesschule Pforta, a boarding school of the state of Saxony-Anhalt founded in 1543, which has already taught celebrities such as Nietzsche, Fichte and Klopstock.

Extra tip
Take another piece of Saale-Unstrut home with you. In the vinotheque on the monastery and school grounds, you can choose from regional wines and specialities, also from the Pforta Monastery State Winery.

Chapel in the former Pforta Monastery (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Falko Matte
Chapel in the former Pforta Monastery (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Falko Matte

Saint Claren Monastery

Right in the heart of the city of Weißenfels stands the building complex of the monastery of Sankt Claren, which dates back to 1301 and was thus the last of the monasteries mentioned in Saale-Unstrut to be built. The civic association Sankt Claren fills the building with life through events. Public tours give you an insight into the eventful history of the monastery of St. Claren. After the Reformation, the monastery temporarily became a women's convent from 1540 onwards, before it first became a kind of college, the "Gymnasium illustre Augusteum" in 1664 and then the royal teacher training seminar from 1837. It was then used as a town museum, library and even as a police station for the district and the town of Weißenfels.

St. Claren Monastery in Weissenfels in daylight (c) City of Weissenfels
St. Claren Monastery in Weissenfels in daylight (c) City of Weissenfels

Petersberg Monastery

Visible from afar, the Petersberg monastery is enthroned on a porphyry rock above the Saale. An external convent of the Christusbruderschaft and a small convent of sisters actively shape life at Petersberg according to the motto "Pray and Work". The monastery was founded in 1124 by the Wettin Count Dedo IV and completed by his brother, Margrave Konrad von Wettin. After the collegiate church was largely destroyed by fires in 1199 and 1565, it was not rebuilt until the 19th century. Petersberg Monastery is of touristic and historical importance above all because of its three-nave Romanesque basilica, which is founded on a cruciform ground plan. Today, the monastery complex can be visited by individual guests as well as by group travellers.

Monasteries in Saale-Unstrut - Petersberg Monastery Church (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Transmedial
Monasteries in Saale-Unstrut - Petersberg Monastery Church (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Transmedial

Ruin of the former Cistercian nunnery Stadtroda

Listen to choir concerts or watch a theatre performance in front of an impressive backdrop during the summer months. This is possible in the ruined monastery of the former Cistercian nunnery in Stadtroda, which is open all year round. In 1160, the Frankish lords of Lobdeburg built a new house-monastery as a burial place for their dynasty, and in 1240 they founded the convent for nuns of the Cistercian order. The inner wall of the west side is still adorned with six gravestones. During the Thuringian Reformation, its function as a monastery was abandoned in 1534, but the ruin is now used for cultural purposes, like many other monasteries in Saale-Unstrut.

There are also traces of the Cistercians in Stadtroda (c) Thüringer Tourismusverband Jena-Saale-Holzland e.V., Jens Hauspurg
There are also traces of the Cistercians in Stadtroda (c) Thüringer Tourismusverband Jena-Saale-Holzland e.V., Jens Hauspurg

Goseck Castle with monastery church and Romanesque crypt

In 1085 dramatic scenes took place in Goseck: Count Palatine Friedrich III of Saxony was ambushed near Zscheiplitz, cruelly murdered and finally buried in the monastery church of the Count Palatine's seat in Goseck. The "Palgrave's Murder" is one of the best-known legends in Saale-Unstrut today.

The monastery church has experienced a changeful fate over the centuries and today belongs to the Saxony-Anhalt Cultural Foundation. The centrepiece of the magnificent church, which was renovated between 2011 and 2013, is the unique single-column crypt from the 11th century. The permanent exhibition shows the history of Pfalzgrafenburg, the monastery and the castle.
The Schlossschänke will take care of your physical well-being.

Goseck Monastery Church (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Transmedial
Goseck Monastery Church (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Transmedial

Monastery church Zscheiplitz

On the outskirts of Zscheiplitz, the monastery church of Zscheiplitz from the late 11th century rises above the limestone cliffs on the Unstrut. From here you have a wide and magnificent view over the Unstrut valley with its vineyards and of the imposing Neuenburg castle in Freyburg. For a long time this monastery in Saale-Unstrut was left to decay, but in 1985 the members of the association Klosterkirche Zscheiplitz - Klosterbrüder e.V. took over the renovation and preserved the Zscheiplitz monastery church, so that it is still open to you at Easter and between 1 May and 31 October. Concerts and weddings enliven this special place.

Zscheiplitz Monastery Church (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Transmedial
Zscheiplitz Monastery Church (c) Saale-Unstrut-Tourismus e.V., Transmedial

Franciscan Monastery Zeitz

At one time, three monasteries were spread across the city of Zeitz. The only one still preserved today with its church, cloister and enclosure building is the Franciscan monastery. It gained special significance because of its church. No less a figure than Martin Luther preached here on 22 January 1542 on "The great power and strength of the Word of God". Since 2017, archaeological research excavations have been carried out, which have so far brought to light numerous foundations, graves and building structures.

Today, the Franziskanerklosterkirche Zeitz invites you to exhibitions, concerts and other events as a cultural church. In addition, you can reserve it for your own events at the city administration.

Franciscan monastery church in Zeitz (c) City of Zeitz
Franciscan monastery church in Zeitz (c) City of Zeitz

Posa Monastery

The last of the monasteries in Saale-Unstrut that we would like to introduce to you is the Posa Monastery in Zeitz, which today combines a place of culture, education, viticulture and residence. It is idyllically situated on the outskirts of Zeitz, surrounded by orchards, and invites you to undertake cultural activities. The Benedictine monastery was founded in 1114 with the construction of a wooden church and was mainly used for agriculture after the Reformation. In the middle of the 17th century, stones from the church were removed for the construction of the Moritzburg in Zeitz. Since 2013, the Posa Monastery has been a place for cultural and educational events of various kinds. You are invited to try your hand at the environmental workshop or screen printing, attend concerts or readings and taste a wine from the vineyard reactivated in 1998 in the adjacent wine tavern.

Posa Monastery in Zeitz (c) Philipp Baumgarten
Posa Monastery in Zeitz (c) Philipp Baumgarten

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