August 6, 2013

0784 GERMANY (Baden-Württemberg) - Monastic Island of Reichenau (UNESCO WHS)

Reichenau, called Augia Dives in medieval Latin manuscripts, is an island upon the Untersee (Lower Lake) of the Bodensee (Lake Constance), a lake on the Rhine, situated between Germany, Switzerland and Austria, near the Alps. The island is connected to the mainland by a causeway completed in 1838, interrupted between the site of the former castle Schopflen and the eastern end of island by the 10m-wide Bruckgraben, a waterway which is spanned by a low road bridge that allows passage of ordinary boats. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000 because of its monastery, the Benedictine Abbey of Reichenau.

It was founded in 724 by Saint Pirmin, with patronage of Charles Martel, but also of Count Berthold of the Ahalolfinger and the Alemannian Duke Santfrid I. It housed a school and a scriptorium, being maybe the largest and artistically most influential centre for producing illuminated manuscripts in Europe during the late 10th and early 11th centuries. Then its cultural importance started to wane owing to the restrictive reforms of Pope Gregory VII, and also to rivalry with the nearby Abbey of Saint Gall. The abbey lands were secularized initially in 1757 and permanently in 1803, and the monks disbanded under Napoleon. Since 2001 a small community of Benedictines has been re-established at Niederzell.

The abbey's church is dedicated to the Virgin and Saint Mark. Two further churches were built on the island consecrated to Saint Georg, and to Saints Peter and Paul. The famous artworks of Reichenau include the Ottonian murals of miracles of Christ in Saint Georg, unique survivals from the 10th century, when the abbey housed a famous library and school of painters (Codex Egberti). The abbey's bailiff was housed in a two-storey stone building that was raised by two more storeys of timber framing in the 14th century, one of the oldest timber-frame buildings in south Germany.

About the stamp, illustrating St. Peter's Cathedral of Regensburg, I wrote here.

Reichenau Island - Wikipedia
Monastic Island of Reichenau - UNESCO official website
Reichenau - New Advent 

sender: Zasa Lein (direct swap)
sent from Reichenau (Baden-Württemberg / Germany), on 17.06.2012

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