Benedictine monastery, founded by St. Günther of Käfernburg-Schwarzburg, monastery ruin, church steeple from the 12th and 13th cent. with remarkable Romanesque crypt
At the northern edge of the Hainleite hills and south-east of Sondershausen the late Romanesque west tower of the former Benedictine monastery of St. Wigbert rises above the town of Göllingen situated in the Wipper valley. Unique in parts of its building technique and its entire shape, the four-storeyed tower marks the former monastery area. Even a document kept in the State Archive of Marburg (measuring 28 x 21 cm) does not reveal when exactly the history of the monastery began. However, from this document about the settling of a legal business at Christmas 1005 or 1006 the date of the first mention of the monastery can be inferred.
The document starts with the words: “This is to make known to all Christians that at the altar in a place called Göllingen a certain nobleman by the name of Gunther by virtue of his own right of inheritance and from the inheritance of the sons of his brother, called Sizo, [has handed over] to St. Wigbert the estates of Thürungen, Günserode, Ichtershausen, Eschenbergen with Höringen and everything that belongs to it to support the friars of this place ”.
Results of the latest research have declared this deed of gift, presumably drawn up in the second half of the 11th century on the basis of an older document, to be clear evidence that the anniversary “1000 years Göllingen Monastery” in the years 2005/06 was justified. According to this date the monastery, a daughter house of Hersfeld Abbey whose founder is still unknown, is one of the oldest in Thuringia.
Monastery – State demesne – factory for tinned food. The area around the monastery tower which dominates the townscape tells us about these different uses. Due to the small number of sources, some of which even contradict each other, it is still difficult to locate what exactly was built when and at which place. However, it is considered to be very likely that the construction of the church began shortly after the date of the first mention 1000 years ago.
The entire period after the secularisation resulted in serious damage to the building fabric. This even continued in the second half of the last century, at a time when this gem was already a listed monument.
In 2003, eight years after The Palace, Castle and Gardens Trust of Thuringia had taken over Göllingen Monastery, it was able to complete the repair of the ruinous remains of the monastery church, especially the tower crypt which had been used as beer and potato cellar for some time. The area around the monastery also presents itself as being visitor-friendly.