Lorsch Things to Do

  • Torhalle
    Torhalle
    by Cristian_Uluru
  • Torhalle
    Torhalle
    by Cristian_Uluru
  • Torhalle
    Torhalle
    by Cristian_Uluru

Most Recent Things to Do in Lorsch

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    The King's Hall or King's Gate - a puzzling place

    by scottishvisitor Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Gate of the Three Arches
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    On various tourist literature I have read of King's Hall or King's Gate or even The Lorscher Gate the gates origins and purpose seemed to be lost in time. I can only tell you it is a UNESCO building since 1991. The Gate is not mentioned in any early Middle Ages documents, the only mention is of a "ecclesia varia" = a colourful church which was build around 1817 - 1882 as a burial place for Franconian Kings. The colours and geometric designs on this old and silent gate are a stunning sight to behold and the description from history is very accurate in my eyes at least.
    King's Hall interior is only open for groups by prior arrangement.

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    The Monastery under scrutiny

    by scottishvisitor Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Old Monastery
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    In the early sixties of the eighth century Count Cancor and his mother Williswinda founded the little monastery here in Lorsch. The Monastery was later given to the Count's relative a Chrodegan Archbishop of Metz, he was a great follower of the Carolingian dynasty. The Relics of Saint Nazamus, a gift from the Pope to show the loyalty and ties between the Roman Papacy and the Frankish Kings, were brought to Lorsch. This act led to the rise and growth of the Monastery with thousands of pilgrims visiting to worship the relics.
    Today the monastery stands a few metres away from its original site. In 1995 scientific research began using radar to gather information on its long gone past. At present the work is in progress using computer aided design technology to help with future reconstruction. I hope it doesn't take a life time or I may never know the secrets of this fascinating place.

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    Visit the Church if you can negotiate the jungle

    by scottishvisitor Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    uc
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    I spotted this Protestant Church = the Evangelische Kirche on the way back to the car and heading for Schwetzingen. I didn't go in = I would never have found a way through the thick forrestation surrounding the Church but to my surprise it was open. The Church stands on Wingertsber the northern cloister area, these grounds were a former vine yard. It seemed to me that these leafy trees and shrubs grow in very fertile soil = ah the beauty of nature.
    The Evangelische Kirche was constructed between 1895 - 96 A Neo Romanesque red sandstone building formed mostly by square blocks. The Church is built on a high location so is visible from a long way off.

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    The Market Place

    by scottishvisitor Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Benediktin Plaz is a pedestrian area which included the Cloister and Market Place. I was surprised to learn it was included as a tourist attraction as recently as 1982 when on the 18th. September of that year Dr. A. Ohlemeyer, the Abbot of Neuburg, which is the only Daughter Cloister of Lorsch, officially opend the Market Place. I loved the statue of the girl with the tobacco leaf symbolising Lorsch's link with the tobacco manufacturing industry.

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    Lorsch Museum - The Life of Tobacco

    by scottishvisitor Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Model of the leaf drying sheds
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    The King's Hall Museum has three departments which individually trace the history of Lorsch. This is the tobacco museum - a bright modern building. The museum has so many artistically displayed tobacco items from highly decorative clay and wooden pipes, pretty hand painted snuff boxes, the huge cigars which were manufactured here in Lorsch and my favourite - the wooden cigar boxes. Lorsch's links to tobacco and the men, women and children who worked in the tobacco industry are explained very well here - all in all a very interesting and informative museum.
    The museum is open Tuesday - Sunday 10.00 - 17.00 closed Monday
    Price Adult 3e Student 2e child 1e family 6e

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    Town Hall

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 17, 2010

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    Town hall

    The old town hall of Lorsch is a pretty half-timbered building, dated 1715. The ground floor is massive, the upper floors were built in timberwork with elaborate patterns. The gable front is directed towards the square and the monastery at the far end of the main street. Two oriels on the corners contain the staircases. The front gable is topped by a little tower.

    The town hall hosts the local tourist information office, which might be useful to visit.

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    The Town Centre

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 17, 2010

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    The old town centre looks like a quaint place for a little stroll and a rest. I did not have time for more than a quick glance, unfortunately. Around the main square you will find a number of restaurants, pubs and cafes with outdoor seating that look very pleasant. The square is surrounded by several 18th century half-timbered houses.

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    Saint Benedict the Guardian

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 17, 2010

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    Saint Benedict stands guard over someone's bike

    A modern statue in the main street, not far from the Gate Hall and the museum centre, represent Saint Benedict, the founder of the Benedictine order.

    Obviously people in Lorsch have faith in Saint Benedict. Somebody entrusted him his bike to watch...

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    Lorsch Museum Centre

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 17, 2010

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    The museum centre
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    The museum centre is located in a modern building next to the Gate Hall and the abbey grounds. It unites three museums under one roof:

    1. the exhibition about history of the monastery, owned by department of the administration of palaces and gardens of Hessen,
    2. the folklore department of the Landesmuseum Darmstadt,
    3. the tobacco museum and municipal collections of Lorsch.

    Of course the history of the abbey is a main topic of the collection and the presentation. Facsimiles show the most famous books written and painted in Lorsch. One corner shows the scriptorium: the writing monk at his desk, parchment production, the tools, and an unwanted pet digging its teeth into a roll of parchment…

    A mystic treasure of the museum is the so-called coffin of Siegfried, a stone sarcophagus. According to le legend of the Nibelungs, the corpse of Siegfried was buried in Lorsch abbey. However, in reality this sarcophagus originates from elsewhere and its connection to Siegfried is a myth.

    Tobacco production and cigarette making were a major factor in the economy of the town and the region. Tobacco has been planted in this area during the last at least 150 years. Only recently farmers are restraining from planting tobacco because it does not pay off any more.

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    Gate Hall: Architecture of the Facades

    by Kathrin_E Updated Jul 17, 2010

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    Structure of the facade
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    The ornaments of the facades cannot deny their ancient Roman origins. However, the Carolingian master builders developed their own way of dealing with the rules of ancient architecture.

    The surface is covered in a pattern of hexagonal red and yellowish stones, alternating with white stones in between. This derives from an ancient Roman technique of brickwork, which was, however, not used for visible surfaces but only underneath a coating with marble slabs. Here the old walling technique was turned into a system of decoration.

    The columns of the ground floor carry composite capitals in white marble which are Roman originals and have been taken from ancient ruins, maybe in Ladenburg or Worms.

    The upper floor has a row of smaller pilasters with capitals that look as if someone has never seen an ionic capital and tried to design one from a description. The triangles instead of arches above the pilasters are also an idiosyncratic interpretation of Roman architecture.

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    Torhalle/Königshalle: The Gate Hall or King’s Hall

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 17, 2010

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    Torhalle
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    Nobody knows when exactly the gate hall has been erected, probably around 790/800. Nobody knows its original purpose, apart from being a representative entrance to the church and abbey grounds. The hall on the first floor indicates there was more to it. The building is also known as Königshalle (King’s Hall) – it may have been used by kings and emperors for audiences and meetings, but this is pure guessing. In later times the hall was turned into a chapel. Thanks to this the building was maintained even after the destructions of the 30 Year War, unlike the rest of the abbey.

    There are larger and more impressive buildings of Carolingian origins than this. Aachen cathedral, for example, However, most of the others have been refurbished and renovated later on. This one has not. About 80% of the substance of the original building has been preserved. A model in the museum shows the original shape: the roof was lower, otherwise it was not much different from what it looks like now.

    The interior can be visited only with guided tours which are offered by the museum centre every hour in the afternoon. The tour is included in the entrance fee of the museum.

    The rectangular hall used to have a flat ceiling which was later substituted by a timber vault. It is empty except some traces of frescoes on the walls.

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    Lorsch Monastery

    by Kathrin_E Written Jul 17, 2010

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    What's left of the abbey church
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    A first Benedictine monastery was founded after 760 in the location now named Altenmünster on the bank of the river Weschnitz. The first monks came from Gorze near Metz. After a few years the monastery moved 600 m further west onto the top of a low hill, so the birth date of Lorsch Abbey is 767. Due to quarrels among the founders’ heirs about the possessions, abbot and convent decided to give the monastery to King Charlemagne as royal property in 772. The abbey remained subject of the kings resp. emperors and no one else. In later centuries this lead to its status as imperial abbey, thus political independence.

    The monastery received countless donations of real estate and adscript in the early middle ages, and soon became one of the wealthiest and most influential abbeys in the Holy Roman Empire. It was a centre of arts and sciences and owned a well-equipped library. The scriptorium produced illustrated manuscripts of highest quality. The patron saints were St Peter and Paul and St Nazarius. The relics of the latter were kept in Lorsch and the place became a centre of pilgrimage.

    After a period of decay Lorsch lost its independence and became property of the Archbishop of Mainz in the 13th century. It was then turned into a Premonstratensian convent. From the mid 15th century it belonged to Palatinate.

    In the reformation the monastery was closed down. The church and convent buildings were severely damaged during the 30 Year War and never rebuilt. The remnants were later used as a quarry; most of the church was taken down. Even the demolition of the Gate Hall was decided upon, but after Hessen-Darmstadt took over the government in 1802/3 it was saved.

    Not much is left of the monastery building. Of the church, only a fragment of the nave remained. This building is under restoration and behind scaffolding at the moment (summer 2010) and not accessible. Apart from that, only the surrounding wall and the big barn still exist. Excavations have shed light on the size and location of the other abbey buildings. The grounds can be walked for free any time.

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    City Hall

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Oct 12, 2008

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    City Hall
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    The small village of Lorsch has got nice example of half-timbered houses. The city hall is probably the best example of this kind of building. It is also the home of the Tourist Information Offiice.

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    The church

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Oct 12, 2008

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    The church
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    Behind the Torhalle you can see the ruins of the church of the monastery. As you can notice only a small part of the original building is erected nowaday. The original building has got three naves on high pillars and it was about 100 meters long and only the first three arches of the central nave survive today. Inside the church there is the museum of the monastery.

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    Torhalle: the facade

    by Cristian_Uluru Written Oct 12, 2008

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    Torhalle
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    The external decoration of the Torhalle is a clear reference to the pre-Romanesque art organized on two orders: semicolonnes surmounted by composite capitals sustain a lintel with vegetable motives, on which it support ten exiles columnes with eardrums. According to the archaeologists the building entertained the Carolingian emperors during their visits to the monastery, inducing the architects to recover the architectural forms of the ancient Rome: it remembers the forms of the ancient Roman arcs of triumph. But the ancient model appears modified with new architectural shrewdness that forgive the original structural meaning as you can se in the wonderful facade with the game of colours made by the square stones, lozenges and polygons.

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