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the final resting place

Lorch Monastery

Aerial view of Lorch Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende
Nine centuries of tradition

The monastery

Lorch Monastery, located in the heart of Staufer country, is an astonishing place. The Benedictine monastery was founded as the burial place of a German imperial family. The monastery is characterized by its origins as an endowment of the legendary House of Staufen, which remains a source of fascination to this day.

Aerial view of Lorch Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

The monastery was founded 900 years ago.

Founded by the House of Staufen

900 years ago, the House of Staufen founded the monastery on the mountain overlooking the Rems river valley. The family was intended to be buried here. The Benedictine monastery, which the aristocratic family furnished with lavish possessions, grew into a magnificent place. This is still evident today, in the view that presents itself to visitors as they drive through the Rems valley to Lorch. In this way, the House of Staufen characterized their territory around Hohenstaufen Castle, their ancestral seat.

Romanesque tower of Lorch Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Rolf Schwarz

Only one of the two towers still stands today.

Imperial impact

The Romanesque monastery was visible from miles away. This effect was created by the two church towers that soared over the west facade of the monastery church. For people in the Middle Ages, it was a clear indication: This was built by a ruling family. The church was built on the outline of a cross. The cloister, conclave building, and a farmyard made the monastery viable.

Cloister with a Gothic vault, Lorch Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

The late medieval cloister.

The splendor of the late Middle Ages

In the late Middle Ages, long after the House of Staufen, the monastery flourished once again. This is when the church received its elegant late Gothic rib vault and lavish decor with magnificent altars. The cloister vaults were redone and the conclave building expanded. This revival took place just shortly before the end of the monastery. In the 16th century, the Duke of Württemberg introduced the Reformation. All monasteries were dissolved, and the monks driven away. Lorch Monastery became Protestant.

The heritage of the House of Staufen lives on

The tradition of the House of Staufen remained long after Lorch was no longer a monastery. As the unused monastery church became increasingly dilapidated, the value of the Staufen legacy was finally recognized. The monastery church was saved. Today, this unique monastery flourishes once more. Unique tours make every visit a memorable experience. And the view from the idyllic monastery grounds across the Rems river valley remains evocative.

Eagle owl at the Staufer falconry, Lorch Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff
Little owl at the Staufer falconry, Lorch Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff
Harris's hawk at the Staufer falconry, Lorch Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Rolf Schwarz

The falconry center allows the heritage of the House of Staufen to live on in Lorch—Emperor Friedrich II even wrote a book entitled "Über die Kunst mit Vögeln zu jagen" ("On the Art of Hunting with Birds").

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