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the final resting place

Lorch Monastery

Net vault of the cloister, Lorch Monastery. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Dieter Geissler
Nine centuries in a single monument

History of design

Construction was ongoing at Lorch Monastery: Over nine centuries, the monastery lived through every epoch, from the Romanesque to the present. Yet traces of the monastery's foundation around 1100 still remain—and these are worth a closer look.

Capital with dragon, detail of Lorch Monastery church. Image: Ulrich Rund

A finely worked capital with a dragon.

The Romanesque style and the House of Staufen

The monastery church has been preserved from the time of the monastery's founding in the mid-12th century. Entering the nave with its mighty pillars, the impression is monumental. Typically Romanesque, the nave wall opens to the side aisles and the windows in the upper zone with round arches. The fine reliefs that decorate the capitals are likely from the period around 1200. However, as can be seen from the precision of the work, they were likely revised in the 19th century.

Magnolias in front of the cloister in Lorch Monastery. Image: The organization team of Lorch Monastery; Johannes Schmiedt

Magnolias in the monastery garden.

A second bloom in the Gothic period

Fine Gothic tracery windows and a refined net vault in the choir: It's still clear today that the monastery church was state-of-the-art for the late Gothic period. Things were going well of the monastery, meaning that everything could be renewed and expanded. Other items also originated in this period at the end of the 15th century, such as the mighty crucifix, the tomb of the House of Staufen, and most of the Woellwarth tombs. Of course, this also included the cloister and the columns in the prelature, the refectory, and the chapter house.

Renaissance and Baroque

In 1525, after the Peasants' War, when the monastery church was painted with the murals of the House of Staufen, a new era had begun: the images show people in Renaissance clothing. The rulers from the House of Staufen wear short coats of rich materials, like the mighty patricians of the 16th century, and broad cow-mouth shoes. These typical elements have been preserved throughout the many restorations of the murals. The wall paneling in the prelates' room is an unusual discovery for the Baroque period.

View of the Marsilius Tower in Lorch Monastery, with sheep pastures in the foreground. Image: Ulrich Rund

The Marsilius Tower from the 19th century.

An appreciation for the Middle Ages in the 19th century

In the 19th century, the past was rediscovered. People had a particular enthusiasm for the art of the Middle Ages. During that time, many unfinished cathedrals were finally completed, such as those in Ulm or in Cologne. In Lorch, people removed things that appeared unusual for the Middle Ages and added things that seemed important. In the western facade, one of the towers was recreated: The Romanesque Marsilius Tower, of which only the lower two stories still stood, once again received a respectable height and its original stone roof.

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