The Island of Reichenau. Monastic Heritage of the Middle Ages
The Island of Reichenau is located in the Southern Germany near the Lake Constance and the city of Constance. The whole island was included into the UNESCO World Heritage List because it comprises the entire and unique area which preserves now cultural, political and historical evidences of the Medieval Ages. Among the most significant features of the island worth seeing and worshiping are the following:
-the Monastery which played very important role in the Medieval Europe and created the excellent example of monastic life;
-the three churches’ architecture demonstrating architectural development through the centuries;
-the relics created and preserved inside the monastery;
-the outstanding personalities inhabited the Monastery and created world-famous works.
The Monastery started in 724 by the pilgrim Saint Pirmin . The island became his banishment place, however, his initial construction of the monastery was developed into the great monastery complex comprised the school, the workshop and the scriptorium. The monks were given brilliant education and their lavish manuscripts , colorful mural paintings concerning the life of Christ and the Saints became the world relics now demonstrated in different libraries. Besides the history of the unique monastic life and outstanding relics the monastery shows the cultural and political life of the Medieval Europe, namely, the Holy Roman Empire . The numerous evidences of the most important events in the Middle Ages’ culture and politics are available on the island and can be easily explained by the monks’ and bishops’ active participation in the dukes’ and courts’ daily life in the roles of counselors, tutors and writers.
As all three churches survived on the island were built during different time periods they all demonstrate now the architectural history and development form the Carolingian art of the early AD ages to Rococo and Gothic styles of the modern architecture. Those who are interested in the world architecture study are advised to visit the island and ‘read’ the vivid book about architecture history.
Among the above mentioned frescos and illuminated miniatures the Monastery preserves the legendary pitcher which was used by the Christ at Cana to present a miracle of water conversion.
Besides the Monastery brought up many significant historians, painters, philosophers and politicians one of the most outstanding person housed by the Monastery was Hermannus Contractus who left the unique historical chronicles dated from the Christ’s time to the Middle Ages, numerous religious poems and hymns and examples of the first astronomic and musical devices.
Nowadays the Monastery represents the museum of the daily monastic life, different relics and evidences of the monks’ activity. Of course, the island which is enriched with such a great sights draws attention of the progressive humanity: numerous religious, cultural, historical and agricultural processions, festivals and celebrations are held on the island.