• Germany's news in English

Lorsch Abbey - medieval centre of learning

The Local · 23 Jul 2013, 06:00

Published: 23 Jul 2013 06:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

This former Benedictine abbey, founded around 764 AD by the Frankish Count Cancor and his mother, Williswinda, blossomed to become the intellectual and culture core of the Medieval Franconian Empire.

Situated in the western village of Lorsch, between Darmstadt and Worms, the ruins pay tribute to a bye-gone age of early intellectual and medical achievement.

The famous gatehouse or "King's Hall" is one of the very few buildings from Carolingian times that has retained its original appearance over the centuries. The 1,200-year-old structure serves as a reminder of just how big the once-mighty abbey complex really was.


Lauded as a "jewel of the Carolingian Renaissance", the gate is the only preserved architectural monument of European significance from these times, and is one of the most important examples of pre-Romanesque architecture in Germany with its arcades, pilasters and half-columns.

Ravaged over the centuries by numerous fires, and pillaged by invading Spanish armies during the Thirty Years War, many of Lorsch's buildings were lost.

Story continues below…

The abbey once housed one of the largest libraries of the Middle Ages and was one of leading centres of learning and culture. One of the best-known manuscripts is the "Lorsch pharmacopoeia", which is said to mark the beginnings of modern medicine.

In the early Middle Ages medicine was based on herbs and folk remedies. With its extensive herb garden, Lorsch Abbey was also considered a renowned place of healing at this time. The site has been a UNESCO-World Heritage site since 1991.

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd