Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Reichenau Island in Lake Constance in southern Germany was declared a world heritage site in 2001 because of its monastery. Three churches were built on the island - St. Georg, St. Peter and Paul, and the Münster St. Maria and Markus. The most famous artworks include the murals in St. Georg.
The island is also famous for its vegetable farms and wineries. The Wollmatinger Ried next to the island is a big nature preserve, a wetland area which is used by many birds for the stop-over during their annual migration.
The island is connected with the mainland by an artificial causeway.
The alemannic name of the island was Sindleozesauua, but it was also simply known as Ow, Auua, 'island' (latinized Augia, later also Augia felix or Augia dives, hence Richenow, Reichenau)
The Benedictine Abbey of Reichenau was founded by the itinerant St. Pirmin in 724, with patronage that included Charles Martel. Pirmin left Reichenau in 727 but under his successor Hatto, the monastery began to flourish and to gain influence in the Carolingian empire. Abbot Walahfrid Strabo (842-849) was renowned as a poet and Latin scholar. His successors developed a flourishing monastery among the Carolingians, which produced important abbots with connections to the highest sovereigns of the age.
The Abbey of Reichenau housed a school, and a scriptorium and artists' workshop that has a claim to having been the largest and artistically most influential center for producing lavishly illuminated manuscripts in Europe during the late 10th and early 11th centuries, when this part of switzerland formed part of the Holy Roman Empire. An example of the scriptorium's production is the Pericopes of Henry II, made for the Emperor, now in Munich.
The Abbey reached its apex under Abbot Berno (1008-1048). During this time important scholars such as Hermannus Contractus lived and worked in Reichenau. In the second half of the 11th century, the importance of the Abbey started to wane due to the restrictive reforms of Pope Gregory VII and to rivalry with nearby St. Gall, and it soon passed under the control of the Bishops of Constance and dwindled into insignificance.
See also Reichenau, named for the Abbey which held lands there.
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