Schwäbisch Gmünd     Lorch (Württemberg), Schwäbisch Gmünd, Ulm, Augsburg, Ingolstadt und Regensburg, Deutschland     Lorch     Hohenstaufen-Swabia     Ingolstadt     Regensburg

Saint Gall was born in Ireland and was sent by his parents to be educated at the noted Irish Monastery of Bangor (County Down). He was ordained with the name Gall (possibly a Latin form of the gælic gall, meaning “foreigner” or estranger in moderen French) St. Gall was chosen together with eleven other monks to accompany Saint Columban (not to be confused with Saint Columba or Columcille of Iona (a sacred Scotian Isle)) on a missionary venture into Gaul. Gall remained in the region of Swabia (Schwaben, Schwabenland). The Swabian region covered parts of modern Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, German-speaking Switzerland and parts of France along the upper reaches of the Rhine. A map of area is here. He learned the local Alemanni dialect and converted so many pagans he was known as the Apostle of [Lake] Constance. His home at that time is the place (St Gallen) captured before Zwingli lost his life defending Zürich. Despite losing precious manuscripts during the Protestant Reformation, the Abbey of St. Gall is still one of the most important in Europe.

Lorch: Lorch stands at the place were the north to south, which began at the Main, Roman Limes (separating the civilized world of germania superior from the wild Germanic tribes) turned East to protect the more southern rætia province from those same tribes. The rætian limes ended at today's Regensburg (Castra Regina) on the Danube (Donau). Kastell Lorch was built to house a cohort of Roman soldiers in the mid-2nd Century under the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius. The center of the castle stood in the yard of today's evangelical church, the sides of the fort were about 150 to 160 meters long. The castle later supported a civil settlement. The Romans gave up this defensive point about 100 years later.

Die spätromanische Johanniskirche im GmündIn the middle of the 11th Century the parish church (situated in the village) became a colligiate church. It housed tomb of the ancestors of the Hohenstaufen. Around 1100 the Hohenstaufen founded the Benedictine monastery and abbey at Lorch. Later the monastery was rebuilt in the 13th Century under the bailiwick of the Counts of Württemberg. All the while, the nearby town grew.

Heilig-Kreuz-Münster im GmündThe Reformation arrived first with Herzog Ulrich von Württemberg, along with a number of wars a few years later, as catholicism was re-established, then departed again from the region. About 5 miles west of the town at the foot of the Swabish Jura mountains is Schwäbisch Gmünd. The first settlement in this area was around the 2nd century AD, when Roman soldiers fortified the Limes (Kastell Schirenhof ). In the 3rd century the border lines were assaulted and taken by the Alemans, who took over the areas abandoned by the Romans north of the Danube. Schwäbisch Gmünd was founded in the mid-12th century at the period of the Hohenstaufen dominance. Their traces can be still in this the oldest city Hohenstaufen established. Under the house of Hohenstaufen, Gmünd gained the imperial immediacy. It was a Free Imperial City from 1268 until 1803, when it passed to Württemberg dominance.

The city belongs to the Diocese of Rottenburg (established in 1821), Rottenburg-Stuttgart renamed in 1978 (two cathedrals). The territory includes a part of the old tribal duchy of Alamannia or Swabia (Suevia). Christianity spread rapidly in the territory of the present Kingdom of Würtemberg in the seventh and eighth centuries. As early as the Roman era it had found a foothold at scattered spots in the second and third centuries, but was not permanently established until the reign of Charlemagne (d. 814).

Ulm and its Cathedral 110 years ago Ulm: Ulm sits on the Danube, a university city in the Bundesland (state) of Baden-Württemberg. The city is well- known for its Gothic cathedral, whose tower, at 161.53 meters, is the highest in the world. The construction of the huge minster, which had been interrupted in the 16th century due to economic reasons, was resumed and eventually finished (1844–91) in a wave of German revivalism for the Middle Ages. The name Ulm first is documented on July 22, 854, as a Königspfalz (or safe-residence for a travelling King). It first became an Imperial City under Friedrich Barbarossa. The famous son of the city is Albert Einstein, who in 1879 was born in the Bahnhofstraße. The house itself and the whole district was destroyed in the firebombing of 1944, that destroyed 80% of the historic city-centre. Hans Scholl and Sophie Scholl, founders of the White Rose (resistance), spent their youth in Ulm.

Ulrich Ensingen belonged to a family of architects who came from Einsingen near Ulm, which family were the master-builders for most of the important Gothic buildings during the fifteenth century in Southern Germany. Ulrich, the founder of the family, is known from the year 1391; d. at Strasburg, February 10, 1419. Apparently he learned his craft in the stonemason's guild of Ulm, and was also, perhaps, a pupil of Master Heinrich the Younger of Ulm. In 1391 he was asked to take charge of the work on the Milan cathedral, but he seems at that time to have stayed in Ulm, where he was architect of the cathedral until his death. The cathedral or minster at Ulm (the second largest church building (area) in Germany) is now a Protestant house of worship. (detailed history of Württemberg church).

During the Reformation, Ulm became Protestant (1530). With the establishment of new trade routes following the discovery of the New World (16th century) and the outbreak (and consequences) of the Thirty Years' War (1618–48), the city began to decline gradually. Around 1700, it was alternately invaded several times by French and Bavarian soldiers. In the wars following the French Revolution, the city was alternately occupied by French and Austrian forces, with the former ones destroying the city fortifications. During the campaign of 1805, Napoleon managed to trap the invading Austrian army of General Mack and forced it to surrender in the Battle of Ulm. In 1810, Ulm was incorporated into the Kingdom of Württemberg and lost its districts on the other bank of the Danube that became Neu-Ulm (New Ulm), when they remained with Bavaria.

Bibliothekssaal im Kloster WiblingenKloster Wiblingen {ist eine ehemalige Benediktinerabtei, die später als Kaserne genutzt wurde und heute Abteilungen des Universitätsklinikums Ulm beherbergt}: Counts Hartmann and Otto von Kirchberg established the monastery of Wiblingen in 1093. The counts were monks of the Abbey of St. Blasien. The year 1099 saw its inauguration; the first abbot of Wiblingen was Werner von Ellerbach. In the same year the monastery of the Counts donated wood particles, originating from the True Cross during the First Crusade (1096-1099).

Also, near Ulm (Hohle Fels -25km NW ), are some important archæological areas, including that where the world oldest bone flutes were found (announced June 2009). A director of the excavation calculated that the newly discovered bone and ivory flutes were made at least 35,000 years ago, pushing back the age of the oldest known instrument by some 5,000 years. Ulm's Museum displays the area's important archæological finds as well as collections of art and craftwork going back to the Middle Ages; however these flutes from the caves of the Swabian Jura constitute a key part a major exhibit in Stuttgart entitled Ice Age Art and Culture (which will run from September 18, 2009 – January 10, 2010) and the announcement of the finds was made at Tübingen.

Perlachturm (Stadtturm Augsburg (1182)) mit St. Peter am Rathausplatz und tramtrain auchAugsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria. The name of the city dated from the Roman settlement Augusta Vindelicorum. The city was founded by the Roman emperor Augustus 15 BC as a castra. Indeed, the „Fuggerstadt“ is the second oldest city in Germany after Trier. In 121 AD Augsburg became the capital of the Roman province Raetia under Hadrian. The beginnings of Christianity within the limits of the present diocese are shrouded in obscurity its teachings were probably brought thither by soldiers or merchants. According to the acts of the martyrdom of Sainte Afra, who with her handmaids suffered at the stake, there existed in Augsburg, early in the fourth century, a Christian community under Bishop Narcissus; Saint Dionysius, uncle of Sainte Afra, is mentioned as his Successor.

It was laid to waste by the Huns in the fifth century, by Charlemagne in the eighth and by Welf of Bavaria in the eleventh. The church history of that period is full of uncertainty, but a great number of monasteries arose, and it appears that Ausburg also rebuilt each time in a more prosperous manner. During the incursion of the Hungarians and the siege of Augsburg (955), Saint Ulrich sustained the courage of the citizens, compelled the Hungarians to withdraw, and contributed much to the decisive victory on the Lechfeld (955). He built churches in honor of Ste. Afra and St. John, founded the monastery of St. Stephen for Benedictine nuns, and undertook three pilgrimages to Rome. Days of peace alternated with periods of conflict into which the Bishops of Augsburg were drawn in their capacity as Princes of the Empire, and the life and influence of the Church accordingly suffered decline. From a state of discontent the citizens passed to open violence under the Bishop Hartmann von Dillingen (1248-86), and wrung from the bishops many municipal liberties and advantages. The Wyclifites gained a foothold in Augsburg for a while, too in the late 14th Century. Given its strategic location on the trade routes to Italy, Ausburg in time became a major trading center and an Imperial Free State. The Reformation brought disaster on the Diocese of Augsburg. In 1530 the Augsburg Confession was presented to the Holy Roman Emperor at the Diet of Augsburg. Following the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, after which the rights of religious minorities in imperial cities were to be protected, a mixed Catholic–Protestant city council presided over a majority Protestant population, until the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648).

Ferdinand II issued the Edict of Restitution, which restored the legal situation of 1552, and thereby curtailed the rights of Protestants. This situation persisted in Augsburg until April 1632, when (during the 30 Years War) the Swedish army of Gustavus Adolphus (Gustav II Adolf, "the Great," "The Golden King" and "The Lion of the North" {"Der Löwe von Mitternacht"} was also "father of modern warfare" -- this link is a must read) conquered the city without resistance (and he died before the year was at an end (Battle of Lützen)). Just over two years later, the Swedish army was routed at nearby Nördlingen, and by October 1634 Catholic troops had surrounded Augsburg. The Swedish garrison refused to surrender. A siege ensued through the winter of 1634/35, during which thousands died of hunger and disease. When the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved, Augsburg lost its independence to become part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Augsburg became an administrative capital, first in 1817 of the Oberdonaukreis, then in 1837 of the combined district of Swabia and Neuburg.

The Swabian coat of arms consists of three symbols to represent the former territories. The double eagle (Doppeladler) stands for all the former Imperial Free Cities, the Imperial holdings of the Staufer and territories of former Imperial Knights; the red and silver shield represents the area of the former Hochstift Augsburg and the other former ecclesiastical territories; the golden stripe upon the diagonal red and white stripes was the coat of arms of the former Markgrafschaft Burgau that symbolizes the middle part of Swabia and the former territories of the Houses of Fugger, Oettingen, Nördlingen. The Danube Swabians are those German colonists, who settled during the three “Great Swabian Migrations” in Hungary (see map before WW I). The colonization was done by explicit invitation of the Hungarian Landlords, during the reign of the Habsburger as Emperors of the “Holy Roman Empire of German Nation,” in order to repopulate the land after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire by a contingent of German-Austrian allied forces (1683-1718).

Ingolstadt: A university town (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften), a city with many, many beautiful church structures, a center for the counter-reformation in in the Free State of Bavaria, Ingolstadt is part of the larger Munich (Bairisch: Minga) Metropolitan Area with a population of more than 6 million souls. You might know it best for hosting the headquarters of Audi AG. Ingolstadt was first mentioned in a document of Charlemagne on February 6, 806, as Ingoldes stat. The place of Ingold proved to be the first fortress in Germany that held out for the entire length of the Swedish siege, and Sweden eventually withdrew. Today the city has 13 museums that cover just about everything.

The town remains known internationally as the home of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (although she never chose it or wrote about it). One can buy a beer or two at the the Nordbrau “Oktoberfest” style festival by the peaceful Danube. The somewhat nearby Befreiungshalle or Liberation Hall, erected in the 19th century to celebrate German victories over Napoleon (union of the independent German states into a loose confederation) was commissioned by Ludwig I of Bavaria at Kelheim (downstream on the Donau (east) about half-way to Regensberg). (many pictures, well done)

Old Stone Bridge and CathedralRegensburg, also Ratisbon, Latin: Ratisbona, Austro-Bavarian: Rengschburg, Czech: Rezno (originally Castra Regina) today sits in Bavaria, Germany, just south of the Danube (Donau). The Celtic name Radasbona was the oldest name given to a settlement near the present city. Around AD 90 the Romans built a small cohort-fort in what would now be the suburbs. In 179 the Roman Castra Regina (fortress by the River Regen) was built during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius at the east end of the rætian limes. It sat at a strategic position on the most northern point of the Danube: the camp corresponds to what is today the core of Regensburg's Altstadt (Old City) east of the Obere and Untere Bachgasse and West of the Schwanenplatz. It is believed that even in late Roman times it was the seat of a bishop, and St Boniface re-established the Bishopric of Regensburg in 739.

From about 530 to the first half of the 13th century, it was the capital of Bavaria. In 1135–1146 a bridge across the Danube, the Steinerne Brücke, was built. This stone bridge opened major international trade routes between Northern Europe and Venice, and this started Regensburg's golden age as a city of wealthy trading families. Regensburg became the cultural center of southern Germany and was celebrated for its gold work and fabrics. In 1245 Regensburg became a Free Imperial City and was a trade center before the shifting of trade routes in the late Middle Ages. At the end of the 15th century Regensburg became part of the Duchy of Bavaria in 1486, but its independence was restored by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1496.

The city adopted the Protestant Reformation in 1542, and its Town Council remained entirely Lutheran until the incorporation of the city into the Principality of Regensburg under Carl von Dalberg in 1803. A minority of the population stayed Roman Catholic; there was the unique situation that the town of Regensburg comprised five independent "states" (in terms of the Holy Roman Empire) -- the Protestant city itself, the Roman Catholic bishopric and three monasteries. Over 200 pictures here

The city's most important architectual loss was the Romanesque church of Obermünster, which was destroyed in a March 1945 air raid. Never rebuilt, only the belfry survives. The large medieval city-centre of Regensburg has remained largely intact and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Dom (Cathedral) is a very interesting example of pure German Gothic and counts as the main work of Gothic architecture in Bavaria. It was founded in 1275 and completed in 1634, with the exception of the towers, which were finished in 1869. Adjoining the cloisters are two chapels of earlier date than the cathedral itself, one of which, known as the old cathedral, goes back perhaps to the 8th century. There are even older remains of the roman fortress' walls including the porta prætoria. The Church of St. James, also called Schottenkirche, a Romanesque basilica of the 12th century, derives its name from the monastery of Irish Benedictines (Scoti) to which it was attached -- it rises next to the Jakobstor, a mediæval city gate named after it. Near Regensburg there are two very imposing Classical buildings, erected by Ludwig I of Bavaria as national monuments of German patriotism and greatness. The more imposing of the two is the Walhalla, a costly reproduction of the Parthenon, erected as a neo-classical Teutonic temple of fame on a hill rising from the Danube at Donaustauf, 15 km to the east. The other at Kelheim has already been discussed.; Kirche Sankt Ulrich beim Regensburger Dom

Modern Map to go Here

A few German Cities: Lörrach {twin city of Sens} -- Mainz -- Trier and Aachen -- Frankfurt -- Köln / Cologne -- Dresden -- Essen -- Duisburg, Düsseldorf und Dortmund -- Düren, Bonn und Koblenz -- Heidelberg, Heilbronn, Stuttgart und Tübingen -- Mannheim, Worms, Darmstadt und Würzburg -- Magdeburg, Halle (Saale), Dessau und Leipzig -- Münster -- Lübeck, Kiel, Rostock und Schwerin -- Fulda, Kassel und Erfurt -- Baden-Baden, Karlsruhe, Speyer, Kaiserslautern und Saarbrücken -- Bad Schussenried -- Switzerland: Geneva -- Bern, Basel and Zürich -- Images of Baden

Kloster Lorch

Trust me, it doesn't get better than this: 100 Days inGermany (Centered around München)

Celtic/Frank History -- Germaniæ Historiæ -- Anglo Saxons

April 16, 1927: Joseph Ratzinger was born on April 16, 1927, at Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany. The little market town on the River Inn, today a village, was once an historic market municipality within the state of Bavaria, Germany. Father Ratzinger became a priest on June 29, 1951. He served as an advisor to the Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joseph Frings, at the second Vatican Council. Pope Paul VI named him Archbishop of Munich and Freising on March 24, 1977. On June 27, 1977, he took the cardinal's hat. In 1981 Pope John-Paul II named him Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and President of the International Theological Commission. He followed John-Paul's footprints and in the shoes of the fisherman on April 19, 2005, and celebrated his 78th birthday, as well as his first Resurection Rite, as Pope.

The Vatican invited rank-and-file faithful to the late-morning Mass on the steps of St. Peter's Basilica to help the pontiff celebrate both his 80th birthday today and the anniversary of his April 19, 2005, election to the pontificate. Thousands of pilgrims from Bavaria attended the Mass, and German-speaking voices echoed in the ancient alleys leading to the Vatican as groups streamed to the square. Some of his fellow countrymen and women wore traditional dress, including feather-trimmed hats; others waved German flags. A much more thoughtul and extensive reflection about this occasion can be found at:

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