Die reiche Ausstattung der Barockkirche St. Stephanus und Vitus in Corvey, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Cor­vey Höx­ter

West­phalia’s first UN­ESCO World Her­it­age Site

West­phalia gained its first UN­ESCO World Her­it­age Site in 2014: The former Be­ne­dict­ine ab­bey at Cor­vey with the same name as the lost mon­as­tery town is per­mit­ted to carry this title.

The former Benedictine abbey at Corvey is unique: its westwork, or western façade, is not just one of the only nearly fully-preserved Carolingian structures, it is the only Carolingian westwork to survive at all. Because of this, the former monastery and convent of the same name were awarded the coveted UNESCO World Heritage title in 2014, providing the city with its first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Imposing westworks like those in Corvey once had a very particular task to perform. Most were attached to the churches of the Imperial monasteries, where kings and emperors would stay when travelling. Only rulers and their court were permitted to use them. From one gallery, which opened onto the church, the king or emperor could participate in the worship from an elevated position.

The Corvey westwork is not only unique because of its age, but also because of its magnificent mural, though only fragments have been preserved today. It depicts scenes from the Odyssey, thereby proving that religious buildings in that era took inspiration from images from antiquity.

Corvey as an important missionary centre

But it is not only Corvey’s art and cultural history that lend it such outstanding importance: its construction dates back to the Emperor Charlemagne. He had defeated the pagan Saxons in the region and wanted to use the construction of the new monastery to show them the superiority of Christianity. Within a short time the abbey became the spiritual, economic, political and cultural hub of the area. From here monks spread the Christian faith across northern Europe.

The monastery was dissolved in the early 19th century and a short time later passed into the hands of the Dukes of Ratibor and the Prince of Corvey. Together with the parish, the family is still responsible for Corvey.

One of Corvey’s most famous residents was August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben. The author of the German national anthem was working here as the Duke’s librarian and was buried in the adjacent cemetery upon his death. His grave can still be seen today. Schloss Corvey itself now houses a museum, a restaurant and an activity hotel.

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Images and videos

Be inspired: images of your NRW

Hinter diesen Mauern in Corvey befindet sich das karolinigsche Westwerk, Unesco-Welterbe, und die Kirche St. Stephanus und Vitus, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
Die Bibliothek auf Corvey baute Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben maßgeblich mit auf, der Dichter des Deutschlandlieds, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
Die Bibliothek der Herzöge von Corvey gehört zu den größten Privatbibliotheken Deutschlands, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
Das ehemalige Kloster und heutige Schloss Corvey ist heute Wohnort des Herzoglichen Hauses Ratibor und Corvey, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
Außenansicht der ehemaligen Klosterkirche mit dem Westwerk und den Kirchtürmen im Hintergrund, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
Das karolingische Westwerk in Corvey, hier ein Blick ins Erdgeschoss, wurde von der Unesco 2014 zum Erbe der Menschheit erklärt, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
Wandmalereien mit Motiven aus der griechischen Mythologie zierten einst das Westwerk aus der Karolingerzeit auf Corvey, Reste sind erhalten, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

More information

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Kulturkreis Höxter-Corvey gGmbH
Corvey 2
37671 Höxter
Telephone: +49 5271 694010
E-mail: empfang@schloss-corvey.de

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Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 18:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 18:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 18:00
Thursday 10:00 - 18:00
Friday 10:00 - 18:00
Saturday 10:00 - 18:00
Sunday 10:00 - 18:00
Holiday 10:00 - 18:00

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