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Corvey Castle: History of the Abbey, where the Remains of a Roman Martyr are Stored

Corvey Castle is Höxter’s main attraction. It was one of the most powerful Benedictine abbeys in Germany (Reichsabtei Corvey). It was founded in 815 by Louis I the Pious. French monks from the Royal Abbey of Saint Peter in Corby were its first inhabitants. Because of this, the abbey was called "new Corby" for a while, which then changed into Corvey.

The transfer of the remains of St. Vitus- the Roman martyr of the early Christian period- in 836 was a key event in the early history of the Corvey Abbey. Before that, they were stored in the Benedictine monastery of Saint-Denis in Paris. In 830 the abbot of the French monastery was in custody in Corvey on charges of plotting against Louis the Pious, but was pardoned and, apparently, gave that generous gift to his former "prison" in gratitude for the soft conditions of detention. The relic attracted many pilgrims to Corvey and helped strengthen the influence of the new monastery. The abbey owned numerous commercial lands and even had the right to mint its own coins. Visits of at least twenty various kings and emperors to Corvey are documented. The west facade of the monastery (Westwerk) has been preserved since then. This is one of the most significant monuments of the Carolingian Renaissance.

 

The Corvey Abbey had lost its influence by the XV century. After the Napoleonic wars, the monastery that had received the status of the bishopric of the principality by that time was eliminated. The buildings of the monastery and the lands passed into the ownership of Landgrave of Hesse-Rotenburg, who made the former Abbey a princely residence. In 1840 Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst was granted the title of Prince of Corvey and Duke of Ratibor. His descendant Victor von Ratibor still owns the castle. Largely due to his efforts, Corvey Castle was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014. Tourists, who got access to it in the 1950s, have a chance to personally meet and talk with the hospitable owner of the castle. Most of the furniture and decoration of Corvey Castle has been preserved since the beginning of the XIX century. The ducal library, which occupies 15 rooms, is one of the main treasures. 

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Corvey 1
37671, Höxter
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