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Raitenhaslach abbey

First mentioned in 788 as “Raitinhaselach”, the Cistercians founded their first  monastery in Altbayern (Old Bavaria) here in 1146. Raitenhaslach lies at a bend in  the Salzach just five kilometres from Burghausen, nestled in the wild and romantic riverscape.

The original three-aisled Romanesque pillar basilica, consecrated in 1186, was  fitted with a sumptuous interior between 1743 and 1746 and became a true  jewel of Bavarian Baroque. Particularly worth seeing are the altars, the  frescoes and the tombstones of the Wittelsbach family, who were once Kings of Bavaria.

In the prelate’s building, the monastery complex boasts two more hidden  treasures, which have only been opened to the public recently after remaining untouched for over 200 years. One is the “Pope’s Room”, where legend has it  that Pope Pius IV spent the night in 1782, and which is virtually “frozen” the way  it was in the 1760s. The other is the “Stone Hall” - festive Baroque par excellence, now used for concerts and events once again.

The history of Raitenhaslach

The name “Ratinhaselach” was first mentioned in a Salzburg nomenclature of  goods in around 788. In the period 1143-1146, the mother monastery in Salem  am Bodensee founded the first Cistercian abbey in Altbayern (Old Bavaria) in  Raitenhaslach. It remained standing until the period of secularisation in Bavaria in 1803.
The abbey complex now consists of the “old abbey” with the church and water  tower dating back to the 16th century and the “new abbey” with Baroque  architecture from 1752. During the Baroque period, Raitenhaslach resembled a  colossal building site under Abbot Emanuel II Mayr, who was a very ambitious  builder. The prelate’s building was completed, and the festival room and entire  commercial wing were rebuilt. After a violent landslide on 5 August 1766, the  abbey’s interior (cloister area) was completely rebuilt. The final construction work  as to the famous library wing, which was completed in 1785. This and almost half the other Baroquestyle buildings were torn down again in 1803.

Raitenhaslach abbey church

8-9 September 1186 marked the consecration of the first church on the grounds of the Raitenhaslach Cistercian abbey. It was a gigantic building for its time, boasting a three-aisled Romanesque pillar basilica with an interior length of 60 m and a  vaulted high nave.
The church was reconstructed as a Baroque pilaster church in  1698 to mark the 600th anniversary of the order. The church was fitted with a sumptuous Baroque interior between 1743 and 1746 under Abbot Robert Pendtner in celebration of the abbey’s 600th anniversary.

The ceiling frescos by Johann Zick depict the life story of St. Bernhard of Clairvaux of the Order of Cistercians. In 1982, the five-year complete restoration of the  abbey began, and it is now more beautiful than ever in its new splendour.

Art and culture

Raitenhaslach lies at a bend in the Salzach river, nestled in an unspoiled landscape. The abbey has belonged to the town of Burghausen since 2004. The grounds have since been redesigned to remove the offending brewery buildings  and a trail of open spaces has been created to house temporary art exhibitions. A  new stage has been erected in the inner courtyard intended for musical  performances and plays.

Several TV series have been filmed in Raitenhaslach.

opening times and contact

Registration for church guides:
Office
T. +49 8677 2133
F. +49 8677 918790
Mail
www.pfarrei-raitenhaslach.de

 

Registration for monastery guides:
TU München - Standort Raitenhaslach
Barbara Weiant T. +49 89 289 26601
Mail

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