According to tradition, the monastery of Roggenburg was donated by three brothers of the lineage of the Earls "von Bibereck" in about 1126: Berthold, Earl of Bibereck; Konrad, Bishop of Chur; and Siegfried, a Canon in Augsburg.
The first "Canons Regular of Prémontré" came from the nearby monastery of Ursberg. They first settled in the low-lying area around a pond, but soon moved to the castle hill.
The fast growing monastery was raised to an independent abbey in 1444. It survived the devastations of the Peasants´ War, the turmoil of the Reformation, and the devastation of the Swedish War. In the 18th century three great abbots, Dominikus Schwaninger, Kaspar Geisler and Georg Lienharth, created the Baroque setting, which we can still see today.
In about 1732 the new construction of the west-wing of the monastery began. The foundations of the new church and the east-wing were laid in 1752. Construction of the first buildings ended with the opening ceremony in 1758. The south-wing of the monastery would be finished in 1766. During the prosperous time of the 18th century all the parish churches were reconstructed. The following years were clouded by war, devastation, the misery of French fugitives and enormous financial payments to the state, all of which did serious harm to the abbey.
After the peace of Lunéville the secularisation could not be stopped. In 1802 the abbey was occupied by the Bavarian army, the abbot had to resign, and the monastery, at that time numbering 36 canons, was dissolved. 180 years after the secularisation, the Canons Regular of Prémontré returned to their former monastery. This occurred when the abbey of Windberg, in Lower Bavaria, took over the parish of Roggenburg, the aim of this initiative being the restoration of the monastery. Since that time many young and active canons have worked to reestablish the old tradition.
The monastery building
In the monastery building there is a historical rococo refectory with rich stucco, as well as an old library with artistic wood carving and a large ceiling fresco made by the classicist painter Konrad Huber. Both rooms can be visited during a guided tour. The west wing, which formerly housed the prelature and its historical banquet hall, as well as the rooms of the imperial abbot, the emperor´s apartment and the former offices, now accommodates the local authority, the elementary school and the monastery museum.
The monastery church
The Roggenburg monastery church is one of the most important rococo buildings in Swabia. It was in construction from 1752 to 1758, having been begun by Simpert Kramer and finished by his son Martin Kramer.
According to the customs of the order the church is integrated into the monastery building, with an entrance from the side. The single-nave church has two 70m-high steeples with seven churchbells, some of which are 500 years old. The stucco work may have been done by artists from Wessobrunn. Franz Marin Kuen painted the original frescoes, but they were destroyed in 1845 when the ceiling tumbled down; in 1900, however, the Bavarian state had the frescoes restored, imitating the original model. The large roof fresco shows a Christmas scene, as do almost all churches of the Order of the Canons Regular of Prémontré, as the Order was founded on Christmas Day in 1121.
The grand rococo organ construction provides the church with an excellent finish in the west transept. With its approxiproximately 3550 pipes and 58 stops, the five-manual organ is excellent for concerts. Sound effects such as the glockenspiel, bird-twittering, hail, and many others, further enhance the sound spectrum, producing an ever fuller harmony.
The monastery gardens
The grounds were redesigned starting in 2015. The new design was based upon that of the original gardens, which was revealed after detailed research work. The terraced gardens on the southern side are designed according to a historical baroque template. In one area, a meditation garden was created with an ivy maze. The monastery herb garden has around 150 different medicinal plants in twelve beds. The garden is divided into six beds featuring important people in monastic medicine throughout history, and another six beds planted with medicinal herbs used in classical mainstream medicine and folk remedies.
The Monastery hotel and restaurant
A monastery brunch in the morning, a family lunch with Swabian delicacies at noon or a candlelit dinner for two in the evening – the monastery restaurant offers something to suit every taste. We are able to cater for weddings, conferences and family celebrations with up to 300 guests. Our 3*** ‘Superior’ hotel has 25 light, modern and comfortable rooms.
The Educational Centre for Families, the Enviroment and Culture
“Education as varied as life” is the motto of the Educational Centre for Families, the Environment and Culture. Throughout the year we offer cultural and educational events for children and young people, families, senior citizens, schools and groups of all kinds. You can reserve our modern, well-equipped rooms (for up to 150 participants) for your own events and seminars. We can provide overnight accommodation for events lasting several days, with a total of 120 beds in 55 rooms.
The Monastery shop
If you are looking for gifts for occasions such as christenings or first communions, you will find what you seek in our monastery shop. Here booklovers can discover religious literature and CDs, as well as home-decor items and devotional objects. We supplement our product range with a selection of wines and spirits as well as culinary delicacies, making the monastery shop a unique insiders’ tip for presents of all kinds.