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Monasteries and Churches of Harz

Impressive monastery's, small town churches, the largest wooden church in Germany to the smallest one; as well as the home of the Reformation.

Walkenried Monastery

The monastery which was founded in 1127 was the third Cistercian monastery to be established in Germany. The monastery was founded by Countess Adelheid as the third Cistercian monastery within German speaking territory and was confirmed in 1137 by Pope Innocent II. By the 15th century the monastery was in decline and the Peasants War brought it to the verge of destruction. In 1525, 800 peasants marched against the monastery.

Drübeck Monastery

The site of a former monastery of nuns of the Order of Saint Benedict, first mentioned as Drubechi ("Three Brooks") in a 960 deed by Emperor Otto I. After the monastery became extinct in the Thirty Years' War, the estates were acquired by the Counts of Stolberg-Wernigerode, who established a Protestant congregation of canonesses here in 1732, now a conference centre of the Evangelical Church of the Church Province of Saxony.

Wöltingerode Monastery

The monastery was founded in 1174 and built in 1676 after a fire. To finance the construction the abbess had the ingenious idea to burn corn and produce fine grain, and liquors. The recipes are still used today in the monastery distillery. Take part in a tour of the monastery church with its Baroque interior, as well as a distillery tour and tasting of spirited specialties in the crypt of the church.

Islenburg Monastery

Almost in slumber lays the remarkable former monastery Ilsenburg. The 1000 year old monastery is a rarity on European soil with special plaster floor engravings from the Middle Ages. The monastery was built on land given for the purpose in 1003 by Emperor Henry III to the Bishop of Halberstadt. In 1525 it was stormed, plundered and largely demolished by rebellious peasants; the monks were driven away, and did not return for several months.

Michaelstein Monastery

The Michaelstein Monastery founded in 1146 is situated in a quiet idyllic location on the edge of the Harz. It experienced during the Middle Ages a long period of prosperity, its abbots were repeatedly used for clerical duties by the pope. Today it is the headquarters the Music Academy of Saxony-Anhalt, and houses a collection of historic musical instruments. Thanks to extensive restoration work you can view the impressive Romanesque and Gothic Cistercian architecture.

Germany's Largest Wooden Church

The Market Church "the Holy Spirit" is the central attraction at the town hall square in the village of Clausthal. The previous building was destroyed by fire in 1634, and was replaced by a wooden church, completed in 1642 and was ordained Pentecost in 1642. The baroque building is made of pine and oak timbered church with a 2,200 seating capacity, the largest wooden church in Germany. Particular interest inside the church is the huge organ and the great altar.

Germany's Smallest Wooden Church

The emblem of Elend is the "smallest wooden church" with a size of 5m by 11m with seating for 80 people. The church is in the Gothic Revival style and sits on the church lawn in the centre of two ancient oak trees. The church was first opened in 1897 without a tower. Only through donations from local citizens could the tower and thus the church reopen in 1904 in its present form.