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County and monastery of Sponheim

The fascinating history of the imperially immediate County of Sponheim in the Nahe-Hunsrück area begins around the turn of the last millennium (imperially immediate: priviledged feudal and political status of the Middle Ages). At that time the entire region belonged to the Salians. The Salic kings and emperors were rulers of the "Nahe area". Count Eberhard von Nellenburg, who came from Stockach on the Lake of Constance and who had much influence with the Salians, built a church in 1044-1047 on a very attractively situated hill near Sponheim castle. A short time later the church was expanded and a Convent of Canons constituted from which the Sponheim monastery emerged. At about the same time the imperial cathedral was built in the romanesque style in Speyer, less than 50 kilometers away, as the entombment place for the Salians (completed in 1061). The monastery church of Sponheim was also built in this massive style. In the year 1124, Count Meginhard von Nellenburg and his wife Mechthild from Mörsburg near Wiesendangen (Switzerland) established the Sponheim Benedictine monastery and donated it, together with other properties, to the Archbishop of Mainz. The House of Sponheim, as they now called themselves after inheriting the castle in Ellerbach Valley from Count von Nellenburg, ruled the Nahe-Hunsrück area over the following centuries.

Photo: Monastery church «St. Martin and Mary» with the ground plan of a Greek cross with arms of equal length. It is remarkable the ease with which the dome of the crossing inside changes from a square to an octagon (right picture); the left picture shows the side altar with the statue of St. Martin (Martin of Tours).

vSpacer hSpacer Romanesque monastery church St. Martin in Sponheim, sculpture of St. Martin (Nahe Valley) rFrame
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