Einhard Basilica is being considered to be one of the rare masterpieces of Carolingian times (times of Carolus Magnus, Charlemange, 8-9th century). Its founder, Einhard, was a powerful man of his times, teacher and consultant to Charlemange and he also wrote a biography about the emperor: Vita Karoli Magni. He received the region around Steinbach as a gift and built the church early 9th century. To make sure that the church would be considered important, he even went to Rome and stole relics of Roman martyrs Petrus and Marcellinus. But only shortly after that he lost interest in this church and resettled to Seligenstadt. He took the relics with him and the church fell into decay until it was renovated in 12th century by the abbot of Lorsch as a home to Benedictine monks. During the times of reformation it fell again into decay, was used as a hospital later until it went into property of the institution of state of Hessen. The administration of state castles and gardens takes care of it now and it is open to visitors.
We came here on a sunny day in very early spring of 2011 and were amazed of its size. The interior is quite plain, not much is left of course. But it has a special feeling, especially when the sun shines through the windows. Some of the paintings are left on the walls, but it is very hard to find them since they are fading. Some tomb stones are also inside, remains of the former monastery. Unfortunately, the English literature (including websites) does not tell much about this basilica, so I have linked the German wikipedia page, where at least some sketches about the several stages of building can be seen.
Entrance fee: 3,50 Euro
Opening hours: December – March: 12:00 – 16:00; April – November 10:00 – 17:00; closed on Mondays.
Steinbach is located northwest of Michelstadt. Leave road 45 northwest of Michelstadt to the west, into road 47. Watch for the small brown sign “Einhard Basilika”. Turn off north (to the right) into the second street “Einhardsweg”, cross the next street and then watch for the parking on the right side.
Location of Einhard Basilica on Google Maps
© Ingrid D., April 2011 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.)