Kloster Benediktbeuern (Benediktbeuern Abbey) situated in a picture-perfect corner of the Blue Land, can look back on a history of 1250 years. The Salesian Don Boscos, a Catholic religious order that provides aid to young people true to the spirit of their founder, Johannes Bosco (1815-1888), has been active here since 1930. Today, the monastery is a spiritual centre with youth and training institutions.
Every year the baroque-style abbey attracts numerous visitors from near and far with an interest in art and culture. Discover the Benediktbeuern Abbey, either on your own or by going on a guided tour.
These parts of the monastery are open to the general public during the day (9:00 AM to 6:00 PM):
Other parts of the abbey can only be accessed by going on a guided tour:
The affiliated Zentrum für Umwelt und Kultur (Environmental and Cultural Centre) offers guided nature tours of the monastery's Meditation Garden and the assorted adventure biotopes outside the monastery's walls.
Kloster Benediktbeuern (Benediktbeuern Abbey)
Even as a young boy, Karl Geißinger – now a Salesian Monk and director of the Environmental and Cultural Centre (ZUK) – has a passion for all things plant-related that was almost boundless, well apart from the little square metre of land that his mother made available to him. And so it was that the first thing he planted there was a dandelion, which, to the neighbours' dismay, pushed its small delicate umbrella of seeds over the fence.
On winding paths
Despite his ignominious debut as a professional gardener, he kept his passion for gardening: "What already fascinated me as a child was the fact that a garden changes every day." And that is how the Benediktbeuern Abbey now boasts an enchanting Meditation Garden that still delights visitors today. It is arranged in the shape of a labyrinth – circular.
The outermost circle of the garden contains lush plant growth with tantalizing scents and beautiful blossoms. The next bed circle contains practical plants: seasoning and culinary herbs. When you reach the third circle, you will find yourself in a pharmacy gifted by nature. Many of these plants were ingredients used in the Benediktbeuern Abbey's recipes as far back as the 12th century. However, the monks have dispensed with herbs such as aconite (Aconitum, also known as monkshood, wolf's bane, among others), henbane (Hyoscyamus) and belladonna – it would simply be too great a risk to have them around visitors and children. By contrast, the innermost bed circle contains highly symbolic plants. The olive tree symbolises peace, chicory stands for faithfulness and the grape vine for devotion. In the centre, cool water bubbles from out of a rock – the source of life. Thus, the garden symbolises an image of paradise with nature well-ordered where humans walk in the image of God, as the Salesian monk explains it.
The Meditation Garden is also a place of peace and reflection free of symbolic reasoning. The hectic pace of daily living appears to be all but absorbed by the green plants stretching towards the sky. So treat yourself to unforgettable moments of appreciative godless contemplation in this small paradise. The diversity of plants and splendid blossoms are well worth a visit. As you will notice, they spread more than yellow pollen and sweet fragrances when you inhale and sense new vitality.
Zentrum für Umwelt und Kultur Benediktbeuern (Environmental and Cultural Centre)