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Romanesque in Alsace
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former monastery church Marmoutier

The Marmoutier monastery is one of the oldest in Alsace. It was founded either around 590, according to other sources around 659, probably by St. Leonhard (Liebhard) ( around 680 in Marmoutier), a pupil of St. Columban. Marmoutier is counted among the Merovingian monasteries and was an imperial abbey.

In 724 the monastery was reformed by Abbot Maurus, whose name it bears, according to the Benedictine rule. Maurus is therefore often regarded as the actual founder of this monastery.

Of the Romanesque architecture of the collegiate church, the west façade (around 1140/50) of reddish brown sandstone, which rises like a fortress from the town's town houses, as well as the vestibule and the towers from the 11th and 12th centuries, is still preserved today. The façade is crowned by three gables and flanked by two octagonal towers. In between there is a square 36 m high main tower. Although the building is only 20 m wide, it makes a powerful impression. The front with its rich decoration of figures, but also the columns and arches of the vestibule bear witness to Romanesque sculpture. The nave of the church behind the west work was rebuilt between 1225 and 1301 in Gothic forms. In 1761-1769 the monk's choir was rebuilt in Gothic style and equipped with a remarkable choir stalls. The planned replacement of the Romanesque west work by a Baroque new building in 1788 was prevented by the outbreak of the French Revolution and the abolition of the monastery.

The monastery was plundered and partly destroyed by the Protestants during the German Peasants' War (1525), but Anton von Lothringen and his troops were able to prevent the monastery from being burned at the last moment.
The monastery was also affected by the Thirty Years' War, but the abbey church remained unscathed.

Marmoutier Westfront

romanische Monster

The monster heads on the west facade. They are located to the right of the central arched window under the clock.


Silbermann Orgel in Marmoutier

The church has an organ from the workshop of the Strasbourg organ builder Andreas Silbermann (middle of the 18th century).

The organs built by the brothers Gottfried and Andreas Silbermann (and also his son Johann Andreas) are called Silbermann organs. The brothers from Saxony (Freiberg) are today regarded as the most important German organ builders of the 18th century. Johann Sebastian Bach knew Gottfried Silbermann personally and appreciated his organs.

Andreas Silbermann settled in Strasbourg in 1701 and worked mainly in Alsace.

Johann Andreas Silbermann


Pfeil SdR Pfeil SdR

Romanesque in Alsace