The once so rich and powerful monastery invites you to visit and stay. It suffered severely from the abolition in 1803 and a fire in 1813. Parts have been demolished and only recently partially added to. The monastery church St. Mauritius still dominates the surroundings like a cathedral. Its two towers rise seriously and powerfully above the Danube lowlands and herald the fame of the abbey. Even today, with its Ecumenical Institute, the Byzantine Deanery and the temporary monastery, it continues to give impulses whose influence reaches far beyond the Danube region.
In 731 (or 741) the Bavarian Duke Odilo founded a monastery on the Danube, which he called Altach and placed under the protection of the soldier Saint Mauritius. The Agilolfinger called monks from Reichenau to build the monastery in the marshland of the mouth of the Isar. The name Altach (meaning old water) indicates that at that time, the place was surrounded by an old arm of the Danube like an island. In Carolingian times the abbey with its clearings penetrated deep into the forests on the edge of the Bohemian basin. Salt and wine made it prosperous - salt from Reichenhall and wine from the Wachau. During the time of the Hungarian storms Altach, like all other monasteries, suffered great hardship and was transformed into a secular canonical monastery. Its restoration as a Benedictine monastery and its rise to Europe-wide renown is associated with the name of the holy abbot Gotthard (996 - 1022), who later became bishop of Hildesheim. Switzerland's mightiest Alpine pass is named after him. The abbey played an important role in the founding of important monasteries such as Kremsmünster. In the 12th century, Altach was given the name Niederaltaich to distinguish it from its nearby daughter monastery Oberalteich. A special fame of the monastery is its historiography. It has three highlights: the "Großer Altacher Jahrbücher" of the 11th century, the annals of Abbot Hermann in the 13th century and the scholarly historiography in the 18th century. Under Abbot Joscio Hamberger (1700-1739) the baroque new construction of the monastery complex began.
Secularisation inflicted lasting wounds. After a fire in 1813 several buildings were demolished. It was not until 1918 that the monks of Metten re-founded the monastery and settled there.
A view into the baroque sacristy is only possible with a guided tour.
The monks of the Abbey of St. Mauritius and St. Nicholas of Niederaltaich today live as one community in two traditions and celebrate monastic services in parallel according to the Roman and Byzantine rites.
Danube cycle route