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Monastery to conference centre

banzThe original Benedictine abbey was founded in 1070 – the “High Middle Age” period in Europe – and thus reflected the change of structure in society: even though a large percentage of the population still lived in the country, they were governed/ ruled by nobility from central locations. The homes and administrative buildings for them were magnificient to reinforce their social and political standing.

Kloster_Banz_-_innenAs abbeys were places of higher education and even enlightenment, they had strict entry criteria: Until the 16th century it was restricted to the sons of the nobility to enter the convent. But huge discussions ensued, as the life in the monastery was less that of a frugal Benedictine monk than of a feudal lord at court. After fights and battles the abbot Georg von Henneberg and his whole convent converted to the Lutheran belief and abandoned the abbey in 1568. After seven years the convent was renewed, but this time excluding nobility, to ensure staying true to their religious principles. Until the 19th century it maintained a reputation for highest educational standards, but had to bow to the secularization and dissolution process in 1803.

After it’s dissolution it was bought by the Duke Wilhelm of Bavaria and has been in private ownership or part of a trust. Nowadays it houses a museum and offers conference facilities. Fortunately the interior and the maintenance of the building have not suffered throughout the centuries and you will be able to enjoy a remarkable view of ‘monastic living’ during your guided tour!

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens

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