Grosscomburg was founded as a Benedictine monastery in 1078 on the site of a castle. In the 12th century it experienced its first golden age, under Abbot Hartwig. The entire complex, complete with fortified curtain wall, forms an exceptionally harmonious ensemble.
The "new Jerusalem" in the kocher valley
Grosscomburg Monastery (Kloster Großcomburg) – one of Europe’s gems – stands strong and majestic, high above the Kocher valley. It is known for its two precious treasures: its gold-plated antependium and its Romanesque wheel chandelier.
BREATH-TAKING VIEWS – OVER KLEINCOMBURG CONVENT AND MORE
The Stiftskirche St. Nikolaus (Collegiate Church of St Nicholas) was built in the Romanesque period – reflected, for example, in its three tall towers. The nave, flooded with natural light, was modified between 1706 and 1715 during the Baroque era, by the Würzburg architect Joseph Greising. The 500-metre-long curtain wall with its covered chemin-de-ronde offers exceptional views; and its towers and turrets bear witness to the military importance of the structure in years gone by.
From in front of the Stiftskirche St. Nikolaus, and from the cheminderonde, visitors can look across to Kleincomburg Convent, on the crest of the hill. Founded in 1108, it served as a priory for Grosscomburg Monastery. The Romanesque basilica is extremely well preserved; it is one of Baden-Württemberg’s most spectacular sacred buildings. In 1882, careful additions were made to fragments of wall decorations dating back to the Romanesque period, giving visitors a vivid impression of the original artwork.
SOME OF EUROPE’S FINEST ART TREASURES
An exquisite building, with a bright but august atmosphere – that’s what strikes you when you first enter the Baroque hall church of St Nicholas. Its crossing accommodates two exceptional works of art. The richly decorated, gold-plated antependium that adorns the altar table, and the Romanesque wheel chandelier: two outstanding pieces produced by European goldsmiths. The Romanesque antependium is one of a kind; it depicts Jesus in the centre, flanked by the apostles. And the wheel chandelier is one of only three surviving Romanesque examples in the world. Its intricately designed wheel with 12 gate towers symbolises the “New Jerusalem”.
A ROMANTIC STROLL – THROUGH THE AGES
As soon as you set foot in the monastery complex, you begin a journey through time: from the Zwingertor (gate), modified during the Baroque period, to the Romanesque gateway and Michaelskapelle (St Michael’s Chapel), to the Baroque deanery and the hexagonal Romanesque Erhardskapelle (St Erhard’s Chapel). Taking a left after the chapel, visitors arrive at the collegiate church. In 1488, the Benedictine monastery became a canon’s chapter. Under Dean Erasmus Neustettet, Grosscomburg then underwent extensive modifications in the second half of the 16th century. During this time, the curtain wall was built, with its covered chemin-de-ronde that remains fully preserved to the present day. Guests can walk the full length of the chemin-du-ronde – and it is well worth a visit any time of year. Following secularisation in 1802, Grosscomburg Monastery became the headquarters of the Royal Württemberg Honorary Corps of Invalids. And since 1947, it has been used as a centre for further training for teachers and other staff from schools in Baden-Württemberg.