Andechs Abbey located 10 km away from Starnberg on the shores of the Armsee lake became an important pilgrimage location already in the Medieval Ages. At that time this Benedictine cloister received shrines brought by crusaders from Palestine and Byzantium in the 10th century. These are parts of the Christ’s crown of thorns, crosses of Carl the Great and St. Catherine, fragments of St. Nicholas’ attire. A chapel in the castle of the earls of Andechs that stood here in old times was dedicated to St. Nicholas. It was the chapel that the shrines were placed into in the 12th century.
The history of Andechs Abbey started when the dynasty of the earls of Andechs lost its power, the castle was abandoned and ruined. It was in its place that the abbey appeared, later becoming the burial vault for a number of Bavarian kings and composer Carl Orff, the author of Carmina Burana. By the 18th century the monastery expanded. It was reconstructed in the style of Bavarian rococo and was famous not only because of the shrines and hundreds of cases of pilgrim healings but also due to its own brewery. In the 19th century the local monks were among the first in the country to start using steam engines for producing beer and even built their own factory from reinforced concrete. Beer is still produced here and sold in the monastery restaurant with snacks also made by the monks.