The monastery museum in Stein am Rhein
It's actually a contradiction in terms: how can a Benedictine abbey be romantic? But that is possible in the Stein am Rhein monastery museum. No monks have lived in the Benedictine monastery since 1525, when the monastery was dissolved as a result of the Reformation. Since then it has changed hands several times and has been owned by the Confederation since 1945. The amazing thing about this monastery is that despite its history, it has stood the test of time so well. We visited the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein our stay in this city.
The Benedictine Abbey of St. Georgen is considered one of the monastic complexes in Switzerland that is well preserved. The construction phases between the 12th and 16th centuries can still be seen today. What impresses us most is the location on the Rhine and the impression left by the courtyards, the cloister and the premises. Stone walls on which vines climb, lavender and roses, stained glass windows and ceiling paintings and carvings contribute to this.
Wine barrels and the wine press bear witness to the monks' wine cultivation
In the trotte we find wooden wine barrels and a press, with which the monks once pressed the wine from the area. A wooden staircase leads up to the guest house, with plants twining along the banister. A bishop's hat with a bishop's crosier is emblazoned on the wall of the bakery. Next to it, two putti present shields that look like coats of arms. Above the entrance to the monastery courtyard, two lions hold aloft a crown and a coat of arms on a wall painting. Above them, the year 1665 commemorates an event in the history of this monastery.
The monastery museum in Stein am Rhein is located on the banks of the Rhine
Before we enter the monastery, a side entrance lures us through a door with a pointed arch to the banks of the Rhine. The river flows with full force directly along the outer walls of the monastery. We are standing on a promenade that stretches across to the bridge that connects the districts of Stein am Rhein on the banks of the Rhine. Roses line the entrance back into the monastery. Mahonia bushes grow on the outer walls of the inner courtyard, the fruits of which grow in clusters down the branches of the plants. Its leaves catch the raindrops that are now falling from the sky. The tower of the church in Stein am Rhein rises above the outer courtyard with its gargoyles, which spit out rainwater like dragons.
Grape vines in the courtyard of the monastery museum
Grapevines climb up wooden pillars in the inner courtyard. On closer inspection, grapes are already hanging from these. “In the fall, that will definitely result in a good harvest,” I think to myself. A sundial above shows the time. However, because of the rain, she can only guess at the time today. The rain clouds prevent the formation of shadows. A half-timbered shed in a corner of the inner courtyard, with its wooden beams in the facade, the glass windows with a cactus on the window sill and the wooden shop, reinforces the romantic impression of the monastery building. Because the rain is falling more and more, we enter the premises of the monastery and begin a journey through the history of the monastery, which stretches from the 12th to the 16th century.
The calefactory in the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein
The tour is not chronologically correct. We start it in the calefactory, the warm room of the monastery. This dates from the 15th century. However, I wonder how the room was once heated. Because apart from a wooden table, a few cupboards, an altarpiece on the wall and a niche under a cross vault in one corner of the room, there is only a window sill that runs along the window front.
The 14th century cloister
From there we step out into the cloister, which dates from the 14th century. There we pass the parlatorium where the monks were allowed to speak. We also see the summer refectory, the dining room where the monks ate their meals in the summer, and the bakehouse. Vaults always draw my gaze upwards. I also discover keystones and ceiling paintings. The struts of the vault are painted in color to this day. This increases the effect of the cloister on romantic souls like me.
The cells we are passing date from the 19th century when Ferdinand Vetter had them restored. Only the monk's cell in the north-east corner has been preserved in its original form, and the remains of the murals can still be seen on the walls. Opposite, the scriptorium of the monastery has been reconstructed, probably to show what the monks were doing at the time.
The winter refectory in the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein
The winter refectory is well preserved. Here I can imagine how the monks met every day to eat. While the wind was blowing down from the mountains outside, it was probably similar to today. In front of the windows there is a table in the room. It is almost as if he is waiting for the monks to come in from their work to sit down to eat. Above, I discover frescoed ceilings, a wooden chest of drawers and a lamp made of wood and deer antlers above the dining table. In an adjoining room we find a tiled stove whose enamel details amaze us.
The ballroom in the Stein am Rhein monastery museum
The last rooms we visited in the Stein am Rhein monastery museum all date from the 16th century and are therefore the youngest in the building complex. Wall paintings can be found in the ballroom, which was commissioned by Abbot David von Winkelsheim (1499 – 1525) to furnish in the style of the early Renaissance. These mainly show profane content. For this reason, this hall escaped the iconoclasm of 1525, when the monastery was dissolved. The grisaille painting has been expanded to include the colors blue, red and yellow gold. The paintings show motifs that depict the people and life of the time. A trip to Stein am Rhein is worthwhile for this hall alone. The art lovers among you will enjoy it.
The abbots' rooms in the Stein am Rhein monastery museum
The abbot's rooms are one floor below. Their furnishings show how comfortably the abbots lived in the last years of the monastery. Window niches with slug windows, a tiled stove that provided warmth, finishes in the cross vaults, borders that adorn the room walls, and wall and ceiling paintings made life for the abbots a life of luxury. They give us an insight into the everyday life of the monks in this monastery shortly before the Reformation.
Our visit to the St. Georgen Monastery Museum in Stein am Rhein was one of the highlights of our short trip to the Untersee region on Lake Constance. It is worth the trip on its own. The insights into the life of the monks between the 12th and 16th centuries were one side. We found the works of art even more impressive, which have survived to this day despite the dissolution of the monastery and the iconoclasm in its rooms. The layout of the courtyards and the location on the banks of the Rhine are romantic, making the monastery a total work of art.
Klostermuseum St. Georgen
The monastery is located about ten minutes walk from the station Stein am Rhein. It is about a five-minute walk from the boat landing stage.
From the beginning of April to the end of October, daily except Monday from 10: 00 to 17: 00 pm
Good Friday, Easter Monday and Whit Monday open.
Closed from November to March.
By appointment, prices on request
Stay you can be good at Bora HotSpa Resort in Radolfzell, which is less than an hour away by bus.
Hotels in Stein am Rhein:
Accommodation in Stein am Rhein* you can book here.
Are you traveling to Stein am Rhein by motorhome?
- Do you want to rent a motorhome? Then you will find information and a selection in these booking options. Rent a motorhome or a camper near you here. Or would you prefer to stay overnight in a roof tent on the car? Also the overnight stay in a camping tent is possible.
- Check our packing list for campers to see whether you have packed everything for your motorhome tour.
- You can stay at Camping Wagenhausen, Hauptstrasse 82, 8259 Wagenhausen, Switzerland. But there are other campsites near Stein am Rhein. There you can after a day trip in a Dutch Oven or on the portable grill or on Campfire after a day trip .
- Motorhome accessories you can also find here.
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Do you already know:
- The historic old town of Stein am Rhein
- Restaurant Rheingerbe
- Hike along the Rhine – which is the most beautiful?
- Discover the most beautiful cities on the Rhine
- The island of Reichenau on Lake Constance and its sights
- Go on vacation at Lake Constance
- Spa on Lake Constance with direct access to the lake
- The Trapp family Salzburg - the real story
- Amber fisherman from Binz
- Heiligenkreuz Abbey and Mayerling Castle for connoisseurs
- Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz
- Which rain jacket is the best?
- Stams Tirol and its sights
Source Klostermuseum Stein am Rhein: Research on site. We would like to thank Tourismus Untersee for the invitation to this trip. Our opinion remains our own.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline