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Baroque gem and Götz von Berlichingen's burial place

Schöntal Monastery

The cloister at Schöntal Monastery. Image: Foto Besserer
A burial place for the Berlichingen family

The cloister

In Schöntal Monastery's cloister, roughly 40 tombs bearing family crests remind visitors of the famous noble house of Berlichingen. They provided the land for the Cistercian monastery in the 12th century and were granted burial rights in return.

The cloister at Schöntal Monastery. Image: Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg, Anja Stangl

The oldest tomb is from 1377.

The cloister as a reminder of Götz and his ancestors

The east wing of the cloister has served as the burial site for the noble family of Berlichingen since likely the 13th century. The oldest surviving tomb is from 1377, the most recent from 1567. The most famous family member, Imperial Knight Sir Götz von Berlichingen, died in 1562 at Hornberg Castle in Neckarzimmern. He was one of the most well-known figures to fight on the side of the peasants during the Peasants' War. The tomb slab for the “Knight with the Iron Hand” is also located here.

The tomb of Sir Götz von Berlichingen, Schöntal Monastery. Image: Foto Besserer

The knight is depicted kneeling and in prayer.

The tomb of Sir Götz

Some of Götz von Berlichingen's ancestors are depicted on their tomb slabs as proud knights standing on a lion, the symbol of power. Sir Götz's stone tomb depicts him kneeling in full armor in front of a crucifix and praying with two healthy hands. According to his epitaph, he died at the age of “eighty and several more years.” At the bottom stands: “’And here awaits a joyous resurrection.”

Aerial view of Schöntal Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Achim Mende

The cloister connected the individual areas of the monastery.

The center of the monastery

The square cloister functions as a roofed corridor between rooms, such as the dormitory and the dining hall. Furthermore, it offered the monks access to the church on the north side of the cloister for choral prayers. Architect Johann Leonhard Dientzenhofer rebuilt the cloister in the Baroque style in 1706. However, the tombs of the noble family of Berlichingen and those of the abbots from the 14th to 18th centuries were given space along the walls of the cloister.

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