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An extraordinary ensemble in an idyllic setting

Bebenhausen Monastery and Palace

Vault in the summer refectory at Bebenhausen Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth
The finest dining halls

The summer and

winter refectories

The summer refectory is one of the most elegant room designs of the early 14th century. The monks' winter dining hall was built about 100 years later. Since their renovation in the 19th century, both display an impressive combination of high Gothic and Historicism.

View into the summer refectory at Bebenhausen Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

One of the most elegantly designed rooms.

A dining hall flooded with light

A fire gave Abbot Konrad von Lustnau the impetus to have the summer refectory, the monks' dining hall, rebuilt in 1335. Buttresses support the outside walls of the tall building. On the south side, a ridge turret soars from the roof, echoing the crossing tower of the monastery church in miniature. On the inside, the room displays the true beauty of late Gothic elegance. A special element: Only three slim octagonal pillars bear a fine star vault with elaborate keystones. High tracery windows fill the dining hall with ample light.

Historic image of the summer refectory from circa 1930, Bebenhausen Monastery. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Robert Bothner

Royal celebrations with medieval ambiance.

The king's Knights’ Hall

When King Karl I had his private rooms made into a palace beginning in 1873, he also included the monastery buildings. The summer refectory was fully paneled in Gothic forms with a full-length bench, the stone mantle, colorful glass windows, and a floor made of glazed Mettlach tiles. The old ceiling murals were also renovated and expanded. Armor, weapons, and coats of arms on the walls of the monks' dining hall effectively transformed it into a kind of Knights’ Hall, a setting for royal celebrations with medieval ambiance.

The Knights of Calatrava march against the Moors, late 19th century, historical image on the north side of the winter refectory of Bebenhausen Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

A comfortable dining hall for the monks.

Warmth for the White Monks

Johann von Fridingen, the last Catholic abbot, had the lay monks' dining hall converted into a heated winter dining hall for the White Monks at the turn of the 16th century. At the time, the number of monastery inhabitants had decreased so sharply that there was ample room for the small number of monks. The wooden barrel vault constructed of carved beams makes the room both impressive and comfortable. Remnants of the heating system of the winter refectory are still preserved in the floor.

Debating instead of dining

King Karl also used the winter refectory as a dining hall. The table and chairs in the style of the Gothic Revival, which date from his time, still furnish the room today. They later seated the 60 members of the state parliament of Württemberg-Hohenzollern, who used the winter refectory as a plenary hall from 1947 to 1952. The murals with twining vines, coat of arms, and hunting motifs were made between 1877 and 1879, with additions in 1911. The historic painting on the north wall, featuring the deeds of the Knights of Calatrava, is older.

Plenary hall in the former winter refectory of Bebenhausen Monastery; scan: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown
Members of Parliament in the plenary hall of the winter refectory of Bebenhausen Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Stephan Kohls

The dining hall became a plenary hall.

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