The Romanesque Abbey Church of Murbach
The Benedictine Abbey of Murbach was founded in 727 under St. Pirmin after a donation from Count Eberhard. Pirmin is said to have brought 12 monks from Reichenau Abbey. The abbey church was probably built after 1150 and is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Alsace. The choir head and gable are richly decorated with figures and ornaments. Where the nave once stood, there is now a cemetery. The nave was demolished in 1739 to make room for a new building. But it did not come to that.
For a long time Murbach was regarded as the centre of Carolingian Renaissance. Its library contained thousands of manuscripts. Today the Murbach manuscripts are scattered in cities such as Colmar, Gotha, Epinal, Besançon, Geneva, Oxford, Strasbourg, Basel, Vienna, Berlin and Manchester.
From the 8th century onwards, the Upper Alsace belonged to the diocese of Basel and the Lower Alsace to the diocese of Strasbourg. The contacts between Alsatian spiritual principalities and monasteries and those in today's Switzerland were very close: a bishop of Basel, for example, was at the same time abbot of Murbach.
In 750 the monks from Murbach founded the monastery 'Im Hof' in Lucerne, which belonged to Murbach until 1291. The monastery 'Im Hof' remained subject to the Alsatian abbey in spiritual matters until 1456. The court church (Hof Kirche) was then converted into a canon's abbey of St. Leodegar.
To the Benedictine monastery in Lucerne belonged also a Meierhof in