F: We’ve now taken you forward in time to the 9th century, to a period when today's Michaelsberg was still called Siegberg. The story we’re going to tell is also depicted in the long display case.
M: High up on the Siegberg stood a fortification built by the Palatine counts of Lorraine, a dynasty known as the Ezzonids. The Siegberg had been settled very early on due to its excellent strategic location, at the intersection of two major thoroughfares. The graphic image on the left shows that very nicely.
Then came the year 1064, and with it, Archbishop Anno the Second of Cologne. He fought the then ruling Count Palatine Heinrich, ousted him and founded a Benedictine abbey on the Siegberg.
F: The founding of the abbey was recorded, and that’s seen as the moment when the town of Siegburg came into being.
M: The abbey has a rather chequered history. Here are just a few highlights:
F: In medieval times, it was one of the most prominent monastic foundations, with numerous priories and daughter houses throughout the empire.
M: In the wake of the French Revolution, the abbey was dissolved in 1803.
F: In 1825, Maximilian Jacobi, the doctor we met at the very beginning of our tour, established the first sanatorium for people with mental illnesses in the old abbey.
M: When that closed in 1877, the building became a Prussian prison, which remained in operation until 1914.
After the prison was moved to Rheinbach, the monks of the Benedictine order returned. They lived here until the monastic community was dissolved in 2011.
F: Today, the Catholic Social Institute of the Archdiocese of Cologne is based at Michaelsberg Abbey, and it’s also home to a Carmelite priory. More information about the abbey and the panel painting of Archbishop Anno is available at the two media stations – though again, only in German.
M: Before you move on, do take a moment to look at the figure of God the Father in the corner on the right. It testifies to an act of destruction.
Fotos: © Dagmar Trüpschuch