See the Benedikinerabteikirche St Maria (Benedictine Abbey Church)
Baroque churches, the Templer half-timbered house, and the Mutter Museums with teapots and the Sammlung Berger are the main attractions of Amorbach in Bavaria.
Amorbach in the Bavarian Spessart is famous for its marvelous Baroque churches and the odd Mutter Museum with its eclectic collection of teapots, modern art (Berger Collection), and coffins. The interior of the former Benedikinerabteikirche St Maria (Benedictine Abbey Church) is a Rococo masterpiece and the Stumm organ is the largest Baroque organ in existence. The Templarhaus is the oldest half-timbered house in Bavaria.
Amorbach in the Bavarian Spessart, Germany
Amorbach is a lovely small town of around 5,000. It is just 10 km/6 miles inland from Miltenberg and absolutely worth the slight detour. The name Amorbach sounds like a Latin-German combination of “Love Stream” and this romantic town is thus a popular setting for weddings. In truth, the name is derived from old German for swamp.
Amorbach’s history goes back to the founding of a monastery here in 734. The monastery received donations from Charles Martell and his son Pippin and remained rich enough for the bishop of Würzburg to obtain control over it in 993 after falsifying a donation document supposedly signed by Charlemagne. However, he lost control over the area and by the end of the 13th century, Amorbach was in the hands of the archbishop of Mainz.
Apart from the rich early years, a golden period followed during the late 18th century when much of the town received a Baroque makeover, a rarity in a region better known for its half-timbered towns.
Following secularization in 1803, Amorbach became the residence of the House of Leiningen, which still manages some of the prime sites in the town. However, three years later Amorbach became part of Baden, four year thereafter part of Hessen, and finally in 1816 part of Bavaria.
Amorbach Tourist Office
Tourist Information im Alten Rathaus, Marktplatz 1, 63916 Amorbach, tel 09373-20-940.
Top Baroque-Rococo Sights in Amorbach
The Baroque Benedikinerabteikirche St Maria in Amorbach
The former Benedikinerabteikirche St Maria (Benedictine Abbey Church), Schloßplatz 1, tel 09373-1287, is one of Germany’s most important Baroque churches. It was erected between 1742 and 1747 to designs of Maximilian von Welsch, who incorporated parts of the previous Romanesque church, including the two west towers, into his new design.
The interior is a Rococo masterpiece with the stuccos by Johann Michael Feichtmayr and Georg Übelhör. The paintings are by Matthäus Günther. The double chancel by Wolfgang van der Auvera is considered a defining work of the Rococo.
The Stumm organ in Amorbach’s Benedikinerabteikirche St Maria is with 5,119 pipes, 66 registers, and a carillon the largest Baroque organ in Europe. The Stumm organ is played daily at 11 am (Sunday at noon) and 3 pm, as well as during occasional concerts.
The former Konventbau (monastery building), which received its Baroque makeover just years before forced secularization, is still owned by the House of Leiningen and only two rooms are seen in conjunction with the tour of the church. The magnificent Bibliothek (Library) has a Classical interior with three levels of bookshelves with over 35,000 volumes. The Grüner Saal (Green Hall) was the banquet hall of the monastery and has a rich Classical interior with green and white stuccowork. It is occasionally used as venue for chamber music concerts.
Visiting the Baroque Church and Convent Sites
The three main sights in Amorbach – the Abteikirche, Grüner Saal, and the Biblliothek can only be seen on a 35-minute guided tour. Opening hours are May to October, Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 5:30 pm. Admission to all three sites is €3 but €6 if the tour includes an organ recital. The church and organ recital alone are €4.
More Sights worth Exploring in Amorbach, Bavaria
Amorbach Old Town
The rest of the old town in Amorbach is pretty with a romantic market square, the Late Gothic Altes Rathaus (1478), and several Baroque buildings including the Palace of the House of Leiningen (1727). On the far end of the old town is the Pfarrkirche St Gangolf (Parish Church), erected in the mid-18th century and in the region second only to the nearby Abteikirche in artistic merit. The frescoes are by Johannes Zick and some of the altar statues by Antonio Bossi. On St Gangolf day in mid-May horses from the region are brought to the church for a blessing.
Templerhaus in Amorbach – the Oldest Half-Timbered Building in Bavaria
A few blocks to the east of Amorbach’s old town center is the Templerhaus, Bädersweg, the oldest half-timbered building in Bavaria and one of the oldest in Germany. The framework dates back to 1291 while the stone lower floor could be up to a century older. This small building was inhabited up to 1975 but was converted into a small museum with exhibitions on its restoration and archeological finds from the region.
Opening hours of the Templerhaus are limited to May to October on Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:30 and Saturday from 11 am to noon. Timing visits according to the limited opening hours are only essential for true enthusiasts! Admission is €1.
Mutter Museum für Kunst with Sammlung Berger in Amorbach
The quirky Mutter Museum für Kunst (Mother Museum of Art), Wolkmannstrasse 2, tel 09373-99-081, has an eclectic collection to say the least. It is also known as the Teekannenmuseum (Teapot Museum) as it exhibits at least 2,467 teapots on individual pillars. It has the largest Pepsi Cola collection in Europe – it is spread over two rooms. It furthermore has over 500 teddy bears and dolls on display as well as a full-scale Mercedes Benz car made of around 500,000 matchsticks. It recently added humorous coffins to its collection. Modern art fans will enjoy the Sammlung Berger (Berger Collection), which include works by Christo, Marc Chagall, and Roy Lichtenstein amongst others.
Opening hours of Amorbach’s Mutter Museum are April to October from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 5:30 pm. Admission is €3.90.
To reach the Mutter Museum from the Abteikirche, follow Abteigasse and cross the stream.
Restaurants and Hotels in Amorbach
A few miles from the center of Amorbach, in an early 18th-century former monastery building, is Der Schafhof. It has a lovely location and classy rooms individually furnished in a country-house style. The gourmet restaurant Abt- & Schäferstube serves international cuisine while the food and atmosphere are more rustic and regional in the Benediktinerstube. Schafhof 1, 63916 Amorbach, tel 09737-97330, fax 09373-4120.
In town, directly on the market square is the pleasant Brauerei Burkarth, Am Marktplatz 4, tel 09373-4363. It offers regional as well as some international dishes in a rustic local. Try the curry served in a traditional small South African cast iron pot.
Hotels and restaurants in the Spessart are generally far cheaper than those in larger and better-known towns. Further sights in the Spessart-Main-Odenwald region worth exploring include Miltenberg with magnificent half-timbered houses, the romantic Schloss Mespelbrunn Castle, Aschaffenburg with its Renaissance palace, and Wertheim at the confluence of the Main and Tauber Rivers.
Originally published on August 11, 2007.