Bypass Repeated Content

An extraordinary ensemble in an idyllic setting

Bebenhausen Monastery and Palace

Dormitory in Bebenhausen Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
For monks, students, and members of parliament

The dormitory

The sleeping halls extend over the entire upper story of the east and west wings of the conclave. While the lay dormitory was already significantly renovated during the time of the Protestant monastery school, the dormitory for the White Monks is preserved almost in its original condition.

Aerial view of the monastery complex of Bebenhausen Monastery and Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

An exemplary monastery building.

A long tradition

In Bebenhausen, construction followed the prescribed pattern for the complex of a Cistercian monastery exactly. The sleeping hall of the White Monks was to be placed on the east side of the conclave, while the sleeping hall for the lay monks would lie on the opposite side. With the arrangement of the dormitories on the upper story of the two wings of the conclave, the construction plan of Bebenhausen Monastery strictly followed the tradition in which the rules of the Cistercians were grounded.

Floor tiles in the dormitory of Bebenhausen Monastery and Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Decorated floor tiles from the monastery brickyard.

The great communal hall

The dormitory was initially a large, open hall, which spread over the entire story, including the chapter house, the parlatory, and the Fraternal Hall. The sleeping hall was completed by 1216 or 1217: Looking up, a wooden barrel vault defined the space. The floor was richly decorated with ornamental floor tiles from the monastery brickyard. In the 14th century, during the office of Abbot Konrad von Lustnau, the south wall received a large Gothic tracery window.

Cell in the dormitory of Bebenhausen Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Bebenhausen local administration

The individual cells reflect the desire for more privacy.

Resonance for cultural history

His successor, Abbot Johann von Fridingen listened to the monks' desire for more privacy and had the dormitory converted. In the process, the flat wooden ceiling was added and individual monk's cells were created in a half-timbered style. Today, they present themselves in the condition of the 17th and 18th century, when the monastery students were housed here. The whitewashed wall panels are decorated with inscriptions and painted flowers from 1523; they were repaired and touched up somewhat at the beginning of the 20th century.

Library in the dormitory of Bebenhausen Monastery and Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Bebenhausen local administration

Not only monks were housed in the cells.

Later inhabitants

Later, part of the monastery was converted to a hunting lodge for the dukes and kings of Württemberg, and some of the monk's cells in the former dormitory were used to house guests during hunts. The space was enlarged for these "cavaliers' rooms" by taking down interior walls. After World War II, the members of the state parliament of Württemberg-Hohenzollern slept in the cells, as the meetings often lasted until late in the night. The sinks and bathrooms date from this period!

Dormitory of Bebenhausen Monastery and Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Fotoarchiv Hein

Some monks' cells were expanded to accommodate hunting parties.