History of the nunnery and the museum

Imperial Founder

In 1258, the Imperial master cook (which was an administrative title) Lupold of Nordenberg founded a Dominican nunnery on today's site.

The church was consecrated in 1265 and the convent's buildings were completed during the 14th and 15th centuries. The mere expansion of the area expressed the wealth of the nuns: the real property stretched from the Klingengasse in the east to the Klostergasse in the south.

The 14th Century Crisis

Being a noble monastery it has always been a bone of contention in the city of Rothenburg. Situated immediately at the city walls, the administration had no possibility to defend the inside of the buildings. There were a lot of further quarrels between the administration, the founderĀ“s family and the nuns. In 1399, the famous mayor Heinrich Toppler was tired of this. He arrested the prioress Ursula von Seckendorf and gained control over the nunnery. The last vast reconstruction campaigns result from the efforts of the prioress Magdalena vom Rein between 1494 and 1510. The first floor (dormitory), the porterĀ“s room and the windows in the eastern cloister date from this era.


Reformation and decay

The latest addition to the nunnery was the so-called "prioress-building" (1518/19) in the western wing. After the Reformation in Rothenburg in 1544, many nuns left the nunnery, married or died. Already in 1554, the last nun named Katharina Euler deceased and all the possessions were acquired as municipal possessions. Having lost its function, the building was useless and the administration did not know what to do with it: it served as a grain store, as a house for parish widows or as an appartment for the "monastery administrator".  The use of a celebration hall (1724-1730) in the northern part of the building remains enigmatic.

Bavarian officials as wreckers

In 1803, when the Imperial cities in Bavaria lost their indepence and rights, all monastery incomes were confiscated. The monastery church, still existing back then, was auctioned and torn down in 1812. Not only all church property disappeared but also a retable carved by the famous sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider. The Bavarian officials established a "Rentamt" (=tax office), whose rooms still exist on the first floor in the East wing of the building (which is today the picture gallery). 

The Museum Period (since 1936)

The city administration repurchased the buildings in 1933 and finally established  the Reichsstadtmuseum (=Imperial City Museum). WW II interrupted a promising development. After this dark period, money was needed for reconstructing the destroyed city. A new restoration campaign was started in 1977, which was eventually completed in 2006.

Opening hours

April to October
9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

November to December
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

During christmas market
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

January to March

Admission 2019

Adults: 6,00 EUR
Reduced: 5,00 EUR
Family: 14,00 EUR
Children up to 6: free
Permission to take photos: 3,00 EUR
Guided tour (on request): 50,00 EUR