Visitors entering through the venerable oak door are greeted by the perpetual murmuring of water pouring into the large bronze basin of the Gothic fountain, as it has been doing for over six hundred years. It is one of the many noteworthy relics of a bygone age that provide a vivid insight into the convent’s past. We want to show you some examples of our treasure trove. However, a visit in person is much more impressive!
Cloisters and stained-glass windows
The cloisters house the abbey’s oldest stained-glass windows from the early 15th century. They include fragments of an image of St Scholastica, sister of St Benedict and foundress of the women’s branch of Benedictine Monasticism and thus a great model for the Benedictine convent.
The summer refectory [Sommerremter], built in 1482 as a new kitchen extension, now serves as a location for cultural and social events. Since its restoration in the 1980s, it presents itself once again in its original design with its beams in striking colours.
The Chapter Hall [Kapitelsaal] was the central assembly hall for the monastic community. It stands out for its unique gallery of portraits of all the Lutheran abbesses from 1580 to the present. As in previous centuries, the room is dominated by the sumptuous abbess’ throne, a masterpiece of its age, and by the coronation portrait of King George II (1683-1760), Elector of Hanover and King of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1729, the king honoured the abbey with his visit.
“The Lamentation of Christ” by Lucas Cranach the Elder
The depiction of the lamentation of Christ originates from the workshop of Reformation painter Lucas Cranach the Elder, bearing his signature and the date 1538. Amongst the biblical figures surrounding the lifeless body of Christ, the painter included a self-portrait as an old man with a white beard and carrying the crown of thorns
“Coffin Hall” and “Owl’s Corridor”
The long expanse of the western dormitory hall was given the sinister name of “Coffin Hall” [Sarggang] because of the trapeze construction of its wooden ceiling. The adjoining dormitory hall known as the “Owl’s Corridor” [Uhlenflucht] contains the sparse undecorated cells of the medieval Benedictine nunnery on its northern side and the richly decorated colourful rooms of the sensuous Baroque era.
Textile art and processional flags
The abbey’s textile museum houses an important collection of religious textiles, preserved at the site of their creation. The oldest objects on show are embroidered linen altar and Lenten veils dating back to the 13th and 14th century. Very impressive are also the large colourful carpets and bench covers embroidered in around 1500. Two unique and rare processional flags in tempera paint from 1410 are also on display.