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Monastic Island of Reichenau

Monastic Island of Reichenau

The island of Reichenau on Lake Constance preserves the traces of the Benedictine monastery, founded in 724, which exercised remarkable spiritual, intellectual and artistic influence. The churches of St Mary and Marcus, St Peter and St Paul, and St George, mainly built between the 9th and 11th centuries, provide a panorama of early medieval monastic architecture in central Europe. Their wall paintings bear witness to impressive artistic activity.

Île monastique de Reichenau

L'île de Reichenau, sur le lac de Constance, conserve les vestiges d'un monastère bénédictin, fondé en 724, qui a connu un remarquable rayonnement spirituel, intellectuel et artistique. Les églises Sainte-Marie et Marcus, Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul, et Saint-Georges, édifiées en majeure partie entre le IXe et le XIe siècle, offrent un panorama de l'architecture monastique du début du Moyen Age en Europe centrale. Leurs peintures murales attestent d'une impressionnante activité artistique.

جزيرة رايخيناو الرهبانية

تحتفظ جزيرة رايخيناو الواقعة على بحيرة كونستانس ببقايا دير لرهبان البينيدكتيين تأسس في العام 724وعرف إشعاعاً روحياً وفنياً وفكرياً كبيراً جداً. وتقدّم كنائس القديسة مريم وماركس والقديس بطرس والقديس بولس والقديس جاورجيوس، التي شيّدت في غالبيتها بين القرنين التاسع والحادي عشر، بانوراما عن الهندسة المعمارية الرهبانية التي تعود إلى بدايات العصور الوسطى في أوروبا الوسطى. وتشهد جدرانياتها على النشاط الفني الكبير.

source: UNESCO/ERI

赖谢瑙修道院之岛

德国康斯坦茨湖(Lake Constance)中的赖谢瑙岛上完好地保存着贝纳迪克汀修道院(Benedictine monastery)的历史遗迹。该修道院建于公元724年,在宗教、认知和艺术方面都曾有过巨大影响。岛上的圣玛丽与马库斯教堂、圣彼得教堂、圣保罗教堂和圣乔治教堂都建于公元9世纪至11世纪之间,为中世纪早期的修道院式建筑提供了一幅可贵的全景图。教堂里的壁画则是各种影响深远的艺术活动的见证。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Монастырский остров Райхенау

На острове Райхенау на Боденском озере сохранились остатки бенедектинского монастыря, основанного в 724 г. и имевшего большое духовное, интеллектуальное и художественное влияние. Церкви Св. Марии и Марка, Св. Петра и Павла и Св. Георгия, в основном построенные в IX-XI вв., создают картину монастырской архитектуры раннего средневековья в Центральной Европе. Их настенные росписи являются образцами высокого художественного мастерства.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Isla monástica de Reichenau

Situada en el lago Constanza, la Isla Reichenau conserva vestigios de un monasterio benedictino, fundado en el año 724, que ejerció una gran influencia espiritual, intelectual y artística. Las tres iglesias de Santa María y San Marcos, San Pedro y San Pablo, y San Jorge, construidas entre los siglos IX y XI, ofrecen una visión de conjunto de la arquitectura monástica medieval de Europa Central. Sus numerosos murales atestiguan la existencia de una extraordinaria actividad artística.

source: UNESCO/ERI

僧院の島ライヒェナウ

source: NFUAJ

Kloostereiland Reichenau

Het eiland Reichenau in het Bodenmeer bewaart de sporen van het Benedictijner klooster, dat in 724 werd gesticht en een opmerkelijke geestelijke, intellectuele en artistieke invloed uitoefende. De kerken van Maria en Marcus, Petrus en Paulus, en Gregorius, die voornamelijk tussen de 9e en 11e eeuw gebouwd zijn, zorgen voor een panorama van vroege middeleeuwse kloosterarchitectuur in Centraal-Europa. Hun muurschilderingen getuigen van een indrukwekkende artistieke activiteit. Het klooster van Reichenau was een artistiek centrum van grote betekenis voor de geschiedenis van de kunst in Europa in de 10e en 11e eeuw, zoals te zien is aan zijn muurschilderingen en ornamenten.

Source: unesco.nl

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Monastic Island of Reichenau
Justification for Inscription

Criterion (iii): The remains of the Reichenau foundation bear outstanding witness to the religious and cultural role of a great Benedictine monastery in the early Middle Ages.

Criterion (iv): The churches on the island of Reichenau retain remarkable elements of several stages of construction and thus offer outstanding examples of monastic architecture in Central Europe from the 9th to the 11th century.

Criterion (vi): The monastery of Reichenau was a highly significant artistic centre of great significance to the history of art in Europe in the 10th and 11th centuries, as is superbly illustrated by its monumental wall paintings and its illuminations.

Long Description

The remains of the Reichenau foundation bear outstanding witness to the religious and cultural role of a great Benedictine monastery in the early Middle Ages. The Monastery of Reichenau was a highly significant artistic centre of great significance to the history of art in Europe in the 10th and 11th centuries, as is superbly illustrated by its monumental wall paintings and its illuminations. The churches retain remarkable elements of several stages of construction and thus offer outstanding examples of monastic architecture in Central Europe from the 9th to the 11th centuries.

For over 1,000 years the history of the island of Reichenau, which lies in the northern reaches of Lake Constance, was closely intertwined with that of the monastery. The first Abbot, Pirmin, was given the task of building a monastery in honour of the Virgin Mary and Saints Peter and Paul. He oversaw the building of the first abbey, a wooden building, at Mittelzell on the northern shore of the island, as well as a three-winged cloister against the north side of the church. The whole building was gradually rebuilt in stone by 746. The monastery received generous endowments of land, and the island, an integral part of the abbey lands, was given over to agriculture. The monastery became a famous centre for teaching and creativity in literature, science, and the arts. The church was consecrated in 1048, in the presence of Emperor Henry III.

At the western end of the island of Reichenau, Egino, a former Bishop of Verona, built the first church of St Peter at Niederzell, consecrated in 799. The church was twice rebuilt and slightly altered in the 9th-10th centuries. The monastery buildings lay to the north, near the lake. In the late 11th and early 12th centuries the church was rebuilt and its two east towers were completed in the 15th century. Now dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, it became a parish church and was decorated in Rococo style in the 18th century. Abbot Heito III built the church of St George at Oberzell in the eastern part of the island in honour of the relic of the saint's head, which he brought back from a voyage to Rome in 896, the year of the church's consecration

The former abbey of St Mary at Mittelzell features three aisles and opposed transepts. It retains its rectangular west tower, flanked by narrow porches and the broad west transept dating from the mid-11th century. Beneath this high tower lies the apse, in front of which stands the altar. The 12th-century nave with its wooden roof opens out into the east transept whose crossing is defined by four identical broad arches and the liturgical choir of the church dedicated in 816, the oldest parts of the church. The Flamboyant Gothic choir is flanked by a sacristy and treasury. The monastery built in the 17th century on the southern side of the church now houses the town hall and the presbytery.

The church of St Peter and St Paul at Niederzell is a Romanesque structure of three aisles culminating at the eastern end in three hemispherical apses concealed within a central block and flanked by two impressive bell towers. The central apse retains fine wall paintings from 1104-34 laid out in three rows. A figure of Christ in Majesty in a mandorla is surrounded by symbols of the Evangelists, the patron saints of the church, and cherubim. Above stands a row of Apostles and another of the Prophets. Other fragments of 12th-century wall paintings survive, particularly in the north chapel where they represent the Passion Cycle.

In the church of St George at Oberzell a two-storey porch and a western apse dating from the early Romanesque period lead into the Carolingian church consisting of three aisles and a west choir of complex structure topped by a tower. The walls of the nave are decorated with remarkable early medieval wall paintings depicting the miracles of Christ. Each of the scenes is framed by decorative bands while painted busts feature between the arches of the arcade and figures of the Apostles between the windows. The chapel of St Michael on the first floor of the porch is also decorated with wall paintings depicting the Last Supper.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

For over a thousand years the history of the island of Reichenau, which lies in the northern reaches of Lake Constance, was closely intertwined with that of the monastery.

The deed of foundation of the Benedictine abbey is dated 25 April 724. The first Abbot, Pirmin, probably from Meaux, was given the task of building a monastery in honour of the Virgin Mary and Saints Peter and Paul. Abbot Pirmin no doubt received endowments from the Alaman princes, although tradition established in the 12th century dated the foundation back to the Carolingian ruler Charles Martel (714-41). Pirmin oversaw the building of the first abbey, a wooden building, at Mittelzell on the northern shore of the island, as well as a three-winged cloister against the north side of the church. The whole building was gradually rebuilt in stone by 746. The single nave of the church was considerably extended by a porch at one end and a rectangular choir at the other. The choir for the monks was separate from that of the laity.

From modest beginnings, the abbey prospered under the authority of abbots who served as counsellors on matters of church and state and as tutors, particularly to the Carolingian emperors Charlemagne (768-814) and Louis the Pious (814-40). The monastery, an ideal staging-post between Germany and Italy, enjoyed the protection of Carolingian and Othonian rulers. It received generous endowments of land and the island, an integral part of the abbey lands, was given over to agriculture. The monastery became a centre for teaching and creativity in literature (poet Walafrid Strabo served as abbot from 838 to 849), science (Hermann the Lame, 1013-54), and the arts (10th-11th century schools of illumination and wall paintings in particular) renowned far and wide.

On his return from a voyage to Byzantium, Abbot Heito had the abbey rebuilt as a cruciform basilica with three aisles in which the square form of the transept crossing is reflected in the whole. The main choir is made up of two apsidal hemicycles and a system of alternating supports was added to the nave. The new building was consecrated in 816. The monastic buildings were redesigned and their new disposition served as the model for the Plan of St Gall, the standard plan of a Benedictine abbey, produced at Reichenau in about 825.

His successor Abbot Erlebald (823-38) extended the church to the west. The arrival in 830 of the relics of St Mark the Evangelist, brought to the abbey by Bishop Ratolf of Verona, sparked a series of acquisitions of other relics and the creation of new altars. Abbot Heito III (888-913) replaced the antechurch with a square choir and a broad western transept flanked by two towers. The new western church was dedicated to St Mark. A round axial chapel of the Holy Cross was built to the east of the main choir which housed the relics of the Precious Blood. Heito's original church was altered around the year 1000, and again in the early 11th century when Abbot Bernon (1008-48) replaced the western portion with the present-day transept opening into an apse lodged within a rectangular tower. The church was consecrated on 24 April 1048, in the presence of the Emperor Henry III. A new nave was built in the 12th century and was given a new roof after a fire in 1235. To the east, a polygonal Gothic choir and a new sacristy replaced the chapel of the Holy Cross (1443- 47). Much later, the church acquired a new roodscreen (1742) and a new sacristy (1779).

In the mid 15th century, a wall separated Mittelzell from the dwellings of the farmers, wine-growers, fishermen, and stewards that collected around the abbey. It came under the authority of the Bishops of Constance in 1542 and new monastery buildings were constructed to the south of the church (around 1605- 10).

At the western end of the island of Reichenau, Egino, a former Bishop of Verona, built the first church of St Peter at Niederzell, which was consecrated in 799. The church was twice rebuilt and slightly altered in the 9th-10th century, the apse being made larger and a porch being added to the nave. The monastery buildings lay to the north, fairly near the lake. In the late 11th-early 12th century the church with its three aisles and no transept was rebuilt and its two east towers were completed in the 15th century. Now dedicated to St Peter and St Paul, it became a parish church and was decorated in rococo style in the 18th century.

Abbot Heito III built the church of St George at Oberzell in the eastern part of the island in honour of the relic of the saint's head, which he brought back from a voyage to Rome in 896, the year of the church's consecration. The church was quickly rebuilt with three aisles, a raised crossing, a crypt, and a square choir. A century later the church was decorated with wall paintings and later, between the 10th century and the early 11th century, a large apse was built on the west side with a gateway and porch entrance. Several other changes were made over the centuries that followed: a tower was built over the crossing (1385), which was then given a vaulted roof (around 1435), the two side arms were converted into sacristies, the west apse was redecorated (1708), and the tall windows were enlarged.

In total 25 churches and chapels were built on the island. From the 14th and 15th centuries the island became home to communities of nuns. Most of these buildings, demolished in the 19th century following the secularization of the estate of the Bishop of Constance (1803), survive in the form of archaeological remains. The Abbey's manuscripts and archives were transferred to Karlsruhe and the University of Heidelberg library. The monastery's vineyards and farmland were parcelled out and sold off. Traditional agriculture such as the growing of grapes and peaches continued, while a hundred or so new houses were built between the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century. In 1838-39 the island of Reichenau was linked to the mainland by a causeway and from the end of the 19th century it attracted numerous artists and intellectuals. Today the island's around 120 farms are given over primarily to vines, horticulture, and orchards.

 

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation