Romantic: the Benedictine abbey in Stein am Rhein

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Grisaille painting at the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein

A historical jewel on the Rhine: Discover the Benedictine Abbey

Actually, that's a contradiction in terms: how can a Benedictine abbey be romantic? But it works in the Stein am Rhein monastery. In the Benedictine monastery in Stone at the Rhein There have been no monks living since 1525. At that time the monastery was closed 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 the monastery in Stein am Rhein 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.



Stein am Rhein Monastery: A place of peace and beauty

The St. Georgen Monastery is considered one of the well-preserved monastery complexes in Switzerland. 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 that the courtyards, the cloister and the rooms leave. Stone walls with vines climbing up them, lavender and roses, slug windows and ceiling paintings and carvings all contribute to this.



Romantic monastery
Romantic Benedictine abbey in Stein am Rhein
wine cask
Wine barrel in the Stein am Rhein Monastery of St. Georgen
entrance fresco
Entrance fresco above the gate to the inner courtyard

The history of the monastery in Stein am Rhein: A review

In the trot we find wooden wine barrels and a press that the monks once used to press wine from the area. A wooden staircase leads up to the guest house, with plants winding along the railings. On the wall of the bakery there is a bishop's hat with a bishop's staff. Next to it, two putti present shields that look like coats of arms. Above the entrance to the monastery courtyard of the Benedictine abbey in Stein am Rhein, two lions hold up a crown and a coat of arms on a mural. Above them, the year 1665 commemorates an event in the history of this monastery.


Side gate to the Rhine
Side gate to the Rhine
Yellow roses
Yellow roses
Mahonias in the rain

The monastery in Stein am Rhein is located on the banks of the Rhine

Before we enter the monastery in Stein am Rhein, a side entrance lures us out to the banks of the Rhine through a door with a pointed arch. The river flows full of force directly along the outer walls of the monastery. We are standing on a promenade that stretches over to the bridge that connects the districts of Stein am Rhein on the banks of the Rhine. Roses line the entrance back to the monastery. Mahonia bushes grow on the outer walls of the courtyard, the fruits of which trail down the branches of the plants in clusters. Their leaves catch the raindrops that are now falling from the sky. The tower of the Stein am Rhein church rises above the outer courtyard in the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein with its gargoyles that spit out rainwater like dragons.


Inner yard
Inner courtyard in the Stein am Rhein monastery
Sundial in the Stein am Rhein monastery
Cactus in the shed window


Grape vines in the courtyard of the monastery museum

In the inner courtyard of the Benedictine abbey, vines climb up wooden pillars. If you look closely, grapes are already hanging down from them. “This will definitely produce a good harvest in the fall,” I think to myself. Above it, a sundial shows the time. However, because of the rain today, it only gives an idea of ​​the time. The rain clouds prevent the formation of shadows. A half-timbered shed in a corner of the courtyard reinforces the impression of romance that the monastery building conveys with its wooden beams in the facade, the glass windows with a cactus on the sills and the wooden shop. Because the rain is falling more and more heavily, we enter the monastery premises and begin a journey through time through the monastery's history, which extends from the 12th to the 16th century.


In the Calefactorium, the warming room in the St. Georgen Monastery in Stein am Rhein

Architectural highlights: From the cloister to the ballroom

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.


In the cloister of the monastery in Stein am Rhein
Keystone monastery museum Stein am Rhein
Capstone in one of the vaults

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.


Winter refectory monastery museum Stein am Rhein
The monks of the Benedictine abbey ate here in winter
Refectory ceiling of the Stein am Rhein monastery museum
Refectory ceiling - just one of the well-preserved ceilings in the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein

The winter refectory in the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein

The winter refectory is also well preserved. Here I can imagine how the monks met every day to eat. While outside the wind was blowing down from the mountains, it was probably similar to today. There is a table in the room in front of the windows. It's almost as if he's waiting for the monks to come in from their work to sit down for a meal. Above I discover ceiling frescoes, a wooden chest of drawers and a lamp made of wood and deer antlers above the dining table. In an adjoining room we also find a tiled stove whose enamel details amaze us.


Ballroom at the Stein am Rhein Monastery Museum
Banquet hall in the Stein am Rhein Monastery of St. Georgen
Grisaille painting at the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein

The ballroom in the Stein am Rhein monastery museum

The last rooms that we visit in the Stein am Rhein Monastery Museum all date from the 16th century and are therefore the youngest in the building complex. There are wall paintings in the banquet hall, which was furnished in the early Renaissance style on behalf of Abbot David von Winkelsheim (1499 – 1525). These mainly show profane content. For this reason, this hall escaped iconoclasm in 1525, when the monastery was dissolved. Grisaille painting was eventually expanded to include the colors blue, red and yellow gold. The paintings show motifs that depict the people and life of that time. This hall alone makes a trip to Stein am Rhein worth it. The art lovers among you will enjoy it.


Abtsstube Monastery Museum Stein am Rhein
Abbot's room in the former Benedictine abbey
Carved key "stone" monastery museum Stein am Rhein
Carved final "stone"

Art and culture in the monastery museum

Finally, one floor below are the abbot's rooms. 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, closures in the cross vaults, borders that adorn the room walls, as well as wall and ceiling paintings made the abbots' life a luxurious existence. They definitely give us an insight into the everyday life of the monks in this monastery shortly before the Reformation.

The monastery complex: a walk through the centuries

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's worth the trip on its own. The insights into the lives of the monks between the 12th and 16th centuries were one side. What we found even more impressive, however, were the works of art that have survived in its rooms to this day despite the dissolution of the monastery and iconoclasm. The layout of the courtyards and the location on the banks of the Rhine are romantic, making the monastery a complete work of art.


Site map of the monastery in Stein am Rhein

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My personal highlights in the Stein am Rhein monastery

Fascinating preservation of the monastery

When I strolled through the Stein am Rhein monastery, I was immediately impressed by the excellent preservation. All around me I felt the rich history that remains alive in the old walls and corridors. It felt like I was walking straight into another time.

Insight into the life of the monks

In the quiet halls I could vividly imagine how the monks once lived here. The simple cells as well as the communal rooms gave me an authentic insight into their everyday life. It was as if time stood still here for a moment.

The impressive grisaille paintings

An absolute highlight for me, however, were the grisaille paintings in the ballroom. These detailed works of art depicted vivid scenes from life at the time. They fascinated me both art-historically and visually.

Luxury in the abbot's room

The abbot's room also showed me how comfortably the abbot lived in the middle of the monastery. With its stucco windows, warm tiled stove and richly decorated walls, it stood in contrast to the otherwise rather modest monastic life. Here I got an impression of the luxury that the higher-ranking monks treated themselves to.

For me, a visit to the Stein am Rhein Monastery is a journey into the past where I can experience history up close. Every corner tells its own story and takes me on a fascinating journey through time.

Invitation to exchange

What did you like about the monastery in Stein am Rhein? Are there any tips you would like to give others when visiting the monastery museum? Share them with us in the comments to this article.


Visit to the Stein am Rhein Monastery: tips and advice

The monastery museum in Stein am Rhein is about a ten-minute walk from the train station. It's around a five-minute walk from the boat pier.

Opening hours:
From the beginning of April to the end of October, daily except Monday from 10: 00 to 17: 00 pm
Open on Good Friday, Easter Monday and Whit Monday.
However, the museum is closed from November to March.
You can find current information on the Website of the monastery museum.

By appointment, prices on request

Stay For example, you can do well in Bora HotSpa Resort in Radolfzell, which is less than an hour away by bus.



Travel Arrangements:

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Compare and book flights here*. The nearest international airport is Zurich. It is also possible to travel to Stein am Rhein by train.  Timetable and booking*.

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Hotels in Stein am Rhein:

Accommodation in Stein am Rhein* For example, you can book here. We have the best hotels and accommodations for slow travelers and connoisseurs recommended here.

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Stein am Rhein Monastery Museum

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Source Stein am Rhein Monastery Museum: research on site. We would like to thank Tourismus Untersee for inviting us to this trip. However, our opinions remain our own.

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline

Romantic: the Benedictine abbey in Stein am Rhein

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Slow Travel and Enjoyment travel blog TravelWorldOnline Traveller. You have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Your topics are Trips to Savor and wine tourism worldwide and Slow Travel. During her studies, Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she traveled to the USA and Canada - sometimes together with Petar Fuchs - and spent a research year in British Columbia. This strengthened her thirst for knowledge, which she pursued for 6 years Adventure Guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as Study tour guide for Studiosus Reisen tried to breastfeed all over the world. She constantly expanded her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: “What is beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do you eat in this region?” These are the questions she is now trying to answer as a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), among others. travel writer and travel blogger answers in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is below Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021 Other Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs. Recommendations on LinkedIn from tourism experts Further recommendations from cooperation partners and tourism experts Professional experience Monika on LinkedIn

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