One of southern Germany's largest Cistercian monasteries

Salem Monastery and Palace

The largest Cistercian church far and wide

The Minster

Begun in 1285, Minster Salem is the third largest church built in Baden-Württemberg after Ulm and Freiburg. The monastery church, which was consecrated in 1414, had 300 monks and lay brothers. The whole interior grandeur of the late ministry years comes as a surprise to visitors.

Salem Monastery and Palace, in the Minster; Photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

The third-largest Gothic church building in the state.

Simple and powerful: the architecture

The 20 meter high church building rises commandingly from a simple, rectangular floor plan. Entirely in line with the rules of the order, all four sides of the building are unadorned down to the fan tracery church windows and the distinctive harp-string gable. Inside, a tight series of arches and pillars leads to the central intersection and the high alter which is easily visible from all sides.

Salem Monastery and Palace, the „Salemer Blase“ in the Minster; Photo: Hermann Böhne

Illustrious visitors attended mass from a gallery.

Place for monks, lay brothers and illustrious guests

The main portal of the Minster was originally located on the north side beneath a large fan tracery window with an almond-shaped rose, the Salemer Blase (Salem Bubble). Behind this was a gallery from where illustrious guests, who were frequent visitors to the monastery, could attend mass. The monks came from the opposite side where the dormitory was located. The lay brothers had access to only one part of the nave. The walnut choir stalls are the work of Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer.

Salem Monastery and Palace, detail in the Minster; Photo: Hermann Böhne

The most significant collection of sculptures of its time.

Late magnificence: Alabaster and 27 altars

Alabaster, bright colors and gold define the impression of the monastery church. Abbot Anselm II ordered complete renovation in 1773. Johann Georg Dirr created the most important altar and sculptures ensemble of his time in South Germany. Four statues on the columns serve as reminders of abbots, benefactors and founders of the Order. Dating back to older times, the tabernacle, figures of the apostles in the nave and ceiling frescoes in the chancel by Franz Joseph Spiegler still remain.

Visitors marvel the Minster’s magnificence.

The largest organ of its time

The four-piece organ construction by Karl Joseph Riepp was created between 1766 and 1774. There were 134 stops and 7,680 pipes which sounded at the same time in all four organs - the Trinity Organ in the west gallery, the Notre-Dame Organ in the south gallery, the Tabernacle Organ in the north gallery and the Choir Organ in the north gallery. The magnificent cases of three large organs were the work of Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer, Johann Georg Dirr and Johann Georg Wieland. The case of the Trinity Organ remains today, concealing a romantic organ dating back to 1901.

TIPP

The large Trinity Organ is an exceptional gem that constantly captivates organists from all over the world. You can hear the Salem organ during regular services, organ recitals and as part of the Salem Monastery Concerts.

Other highlights of Salem Monastery and Palace