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the final resting place

Lorch Monastery

Cross with choir vault, Lorch Monastery church. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Roland Schwarz
A monastic city for prayer and work

The buildings

Prayer and work: these were the activities of the monks. This is why monasteries were built, including the Benedictine monastery of Lorch. The church where services were held was at the center, surrounded by the enclosed area of the monks. At the same time, the monastery was a commercial operation and held property.

View of Lorch Monastery from the valley, watercolor. Image: Stadtarchiv Lorch

The exterior view – still hardly changed today.

An image unchanged by the centuries

A proud Romanesque church tower, a mighty church building, large tile roofs with dormers, all surrounded with a high stone wall: these things make Lorch Monastery visible even from far way, rising over the Rems river valley. As in a fortified city, a circular rampart with round towers surrounds the entire monastery grounds. They initially surrounded a smaller area. The larger rampart dates from the 13th century and was modernized at the beginning of the 16th century.

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

The outbuildings in the east section.

Important for the monastery: the outbuildings

Visitors who enter the monastery area from the east will find it difficult to recognize the individual areas of the monastery. In the past, a gate tower, gatehouses, and a moat with a drawbridge secured this entrance. Secular visitors are particularly fascinated by the outbuildings in the eastern part of the monastic city. Along the circular ramparts, the large tithe barns, the gatehouse or cavalier house, and two smaller buildings have been preserved. However, the monastery hospital and the schoolhouse were only discovered through excavations.

Aerial view of the abbot's house at Lorch Monastery. Image: Ulrich Rund

A stately house for the abbot.

The monastery displays its prosperity

Two buildings in particular allowed Lorch Monastery to demonstrate its wealth: the abbot's residence and guest house, called the abbot's house, still demonstrates this today. The mighty half-timber structure sits between the outbuildings and the conclave. The bailiwick, perhaps the residence of the Duke of Württemberg during his hunting trips, was the stewards' administrative headquarters. Old pictures show how the building characterized the view of the monastery from the valley. Today, nothing remains of the bailiwick.

Where the monks lived

Going further into the monastery grounds, visitors can identify the church. It is the most imposing building that remains of the conclave. Here, in the innermost area of the monastery, is where the monks lived. Of the cloister, which was directly connected to the church, only one whole wing and one partial wing remain. They are hard to identify. They are the open arcades located on the ground floor of the prelature and under the choir. The dining hall, the chapter house, and the monks' sleeping quarters were in the prelature.

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