Allerheiligen Abbey Ruins

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Oppenau, Germany

Allerheiligen Abbey Ruins Oppenau Reviews

Kathrin_E Kathrin_E
371 reviews
Allerheiligen: Romantic Ruins in a Quiet Valley Jul 18, 2017
The narrow side valley named „Allerheiligen“ (All Saints) used to be the site of a monastery. All that is left of it are the ruins of the medieval church, which form a romantic setting in a remote Black Forest valley. Allerheiligen is best visited by car. The site is located near Oppenau and Ottenhöfen, just off Schwarzaldhochstraße (B500).

The Premonstratensian abbey dates back to the 1190s when a lady from high nobility donated the land for the foundation of the convent. The monks, or rather canons as the Premonstratensians aren’t monks, strictly speaking, stayed and ran the convent for more than 600 years. In the secularization of 1803 the abbey, which then belonged to the bishopric of Strasbourg, was occupied by the Elector of Baden and closed down. The canons had to leave for good. Due to its remote location, establishing a parish would have made no sense. The church was abandoned.

During the following years the unused church and convent buildings were used as stone quarry. Only ruins remained of the gothic church. Parts of the choir and transept with one side of the central spire are still there, also the western porch and the arcade of the right side nave.

The Romanesque porch is the oldest part of the church, probably built shortly after the foundation of the monastery in the late 12th century. The church was renewed around 1400.

The ruins can be visited for free, access is possible any time.

If you visit in winter, take care because there is no clearing done and ice on the ground may be really dangerous.

The former barn of the monastery now contains a small exhibition on the history of the Premonstratensian abbey and its destruction. The most interesting piece is a model of the whole monastery as it was before 1800. Entry to the exhibition is free. It is open from April to October.

The terraces of the monastery's baroque garden with their stone balustrades still exist. Little fountains enliven the basins on the different levels. A quiet spot to relax and enjoy the landscape. Under the winter snow it is hard to guess what the garden will look like in summer. Surely it has boxwood hedges like a baroque garden should, and the open water basins will reflect the blue skies...

The Seven Waterfalls

The creek named Lierbach that runs along the valley of Allerheiligen forms a series of seven waterfalls in a rock gorge a bit further down. It is a short hike to the falls but do not underestimate it. In the gorge the path is rather steep and consists mostly of stairs. It is safe to walk except in icy or very muddy weather conditions, solid ground and stone steps. No problem for people who are, like me, scared of heights.

There is another parking lot at the bottom of the waterfalls so you can leave your car there, hike up, see the ruins and go back down, or vice versa.

Sorry I cannot post any photos of the waterfalls here. When I last visited we could not go there due to ice and snow, and the time before I had not yet had a digital camera.

On a hilltop on the other side of the valley, the Schwarzwaldverein in 1925 erected a memorial for their members who died in World War I. From the memorial you have a nice view of the valley and the monastery. Due to the icy paths we did not climb up, though.
Ruins of the abbey
Allerheiligen valley
Among the ruins
This used to be the central nave o…
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