Monastery courtyard

The spirit of the monastery and today's Protestant seminar can be felt in the monastery courtyard. In the middle of the courtyard, in summer, the four-jet fountain from 1551 gurgles, with John the Baptist standing on its fountain column baptizing the kneeling Jesus. The square is surrounded by former monastery buildings, such as the cloister with the monastery church in the north, the former cooperage, called the Bandhaus, the gatehouse in the west and the monastery bailiwick in the south. The half-timbered building, the former forestry office, now houses apartments for the seminar's teaching staff as well as rooms for the seminarians. There are more recent buildings along the Ach, such as the former district court and the residence of the headmaster, as well as the monks' bathhouse.

First was: The monastery

Abundance of water, land ownership, isolation and a small church - all of this was decisive in why the Count Palatine of Tübingen and his brothers von Ruck chose this place on the Blautopf as a suitable place to found their monastery in 1085. The first monks came from the Benedictine monastery in Hirsau in the Black Forest. Through marriage in 1267, the monastery, the town that had since emerged and the three castles of Ruck, Hohen Gerhausen and Blauenstein passed to the Counts of Helfenstein. You can still see their tombstones in the chapter house today. However, the Helfensteiners lived beyond their means and were unable to keep their property. In 1447 they had to sell their possessions in Blaubeuren to the House of Württemberg, the beginning of an economic revuval of the monastery. It was fundamentally rebuilt from 1466 to 1510, resulting in the late Gothic monastery complex, which is still largely preserved today. When Duke Ulrich of Württemberg introduced the Reformation throughout the country in 1534, the monks had to give up their monastery.

Then: The monastery school

In 1556, under Duke Christoph, a Protestant monastery school was set up in which talented regional boys were to be prepared for a theological career, because the country needed Protestant clergy now that the Catholic priests had been driven out. Under the first Protestant abbot Matthäus Alber, the school took off for the first time, with the number of students increasing from 25 to 43. At first, school operations were very reminiscent of monastic life: the students were strictly shielded from the outside world, had to wear long black cloaks, speak Latin and follow a strict daily program of choral prayers. In 1806 the monastery school had to close due to a lack of students.

Today: The Protestant Seminary

School operations did not stop for long. The Protestant Theological Seminary was established as early as 1817 to prepare young people to study theology. Today it is a modern boarding school run by the Evangelische Landeskirche. Here, students from grade 9 onwards receive their Abitur in four years. The focus is on education in the Protestant faith, teaching ancient language subjects such as Latin, Hebrew and ancient Greek and good church music training. Famous Blaubeur seminarians include Wilhelm Hauff, Gustav Pfizer, Theodor Vischer, Oskar Fraas and Robert Gradmann. The seminary's headmaster bears the title of Ephorus. His residence, the Ephorate, was built in 1902 on the site of an earlier farm building and is connected to the school rooms by a covered truss bridge.

The monks' bathhouse

If you walk under the connecting walkway, you will reach a remarkable half-timbered building: the monks' bathhouse. Although such a bath used to be part of every monastery complex, today it is the only one in Germany that can still be found in a monastery complex. In the 16th century, monks could bathe and sweat in a heated bathhouse here. An attached, now demolished stair tower led to the first floor, which was intended for noble visitors. In the central room, the banquet hall decorated with elaborate secular secco paintings, high-ranking guests could be entertained after the hunt. The municipal local museum has been housed in the monks' bathhouse since 1947. It's worth a visit!

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