Monastery Hirsau

Hirsau is situated only three kilometres downstream from Calw in one of the loveliest parts of the Nagold valley. As a climatic health resort with a healthy, bracing climate and extensive public park, Hirsau offers local recreation for stressed-out city dwellers. Hirsau is also widely known as a historic site of early ecclesiastical architecture.

By the Early Middle Ages, the little town of Calw had already made history when, in around 830, the ancestors of the Counts of Calw founded Hirsau monastery. In the 11th century, under the highly educated abbot William, the Benedictine monastery rose to become one of the largest and most influential monasteries in Germany and played a major part in the famous Investiture Controversy between the pope and the emperor. 1091 saw the consecration of the exceptionally long, three-nave church.

The basilica was one of the largest Romanesque churches of the 11th century in Germany. Later, the architectural elements of the Hirsau monastery buildings often served as prototypes for other monastic buildings. The first golden age of “St. Peter and Paul” lasted until about 1250. In the mid-15th century it prospered once again, which provided funds for new buildings.

Around 1480, the Romanesque sections of the building, with the exception of the church, were demolished and replaced by High-Gothic buildings. In 1692 in the course of the War for Succession of the Palatinate, French troops set fire to the buildings, destroying almost the entire monastery. Today, the monastery ruins, which are freely accessible to the general public, are one of Calw’s main tourist attractions.


Further Information:


Guided Tours

Monastery Museum Hirsau

Monastery Summer Festival

Summer Open-air-Cinema

Große Kreisstadt Calw
  • Stadtverwaltung Calw
  • Marktplatz 9
  • D-75365 Calw
  • Telefon: +49 7051 167-0
  • E-Mail: info@calw.de
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