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Basilica of St. Vitus: Origins of the Ancient Abbey

The Basilica of St. Vitus is part of the Gladbach Abbey, which was founded in 974 by Archbishop Gero of Cologne and monk Sandrad from Trier. According to legend, they were on a journey, when suddenly heard the sound of bells coming from the bowels of the rock. Obeying the mysterious call, they came to a cleft in the mountain, where they found the relics of several saints of the persecution era of Christians. In particular, they found some of the sacred objects dating to the III century that belonged to St. Vitus. In his honor Gero and Sandrad decided to found a monastery near the Gladbach river.

The monastery with the Basilica of St. Vitus became the nucleus for a new city - the future Mönchengladbach. The current building of the Basilica was built in 1256-1277 in the Gothic style by architect Gerhard von Riehl. Interestingly, this master was also the architect of the famous Cologne Cathedral. The Basilica is highly respected in the Christian world, not only because of the history, but also because it contains unique things: it is believed that a part of the tablecloth, with which the table at the Last Supper was covered, is kept in it. The abbey was also once famous for its library, but it was lost after the soldiers of Napoleon's army took the monastery. After 1835, part of the premises of the abbey was given over to the City Hall.  

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