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A historically significant abbey in scenic surroundings

Hirsau Monastery

Detail of a frieze on the Owl Tower at Hirsau Monastery. Image: Calw Tourist Information
ROMANESQUE BELL TOWER

THE OWL TOWER

The Owl Tower is the only structure from the monastery church of St. Peter and Paul that remains intact today. This tower was connected to the south tower by a facade, and together they formed the monumental western boundary of the Romanesque church.

Owl Tower at Hirsau Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele

Only the Owl Tower has survived in its entirety.

ONE PART OF A TWO-TOWER FACADE

At a height of 37 meters, the Owl Tower, which was completed around 1120, towers above the entire monastery grounds. At one point, it formed the northern half of a two-tower facade that, together with the galilee, once formed the western end of the of the Romanesque monastery church of St. Peter and Paul. Bells were housed in both towers. While the south tower was disassembled for stone in the 18th century, the north tower has survived to this day with almost no damage.

Top floor and roof of the Owl Tower at Hirsau Monastery. Image: Calw Tourist Information

The tower's facade has many divisions.

MANY DIVISIONS

The Owl Tower stretches six stories over a square outline and is topped by a pyramid roof. Like all other monastery buildings, it too is built of red sandstone in the building block style. The top three stories are punctuated on all sides by two paladin windows, the center pillar of which supports two lunettes. These windows serve as the abat-sons for the bells.

A MYSTERIOUS FRIEZE OF FIGURES

The Owl Tower boasts a particularly striking frieze—a vividly designed wide strip along a wall—that encircles the tower. The frieze depicts a variety of humans and animals. The corner figures are reclined lions or panthers who regard their viewers with a snarl; between them, billy goats and bearded men. To this day, the meaning behind these figures or the story they are meant to tell remains a mystery.

Detail vom Westfries am Eulenturm von Kloster Hirsau; Foto: Stadtinformation Calw

Der Fries befindet sich auf allen vier Seiten des Eulenturms.

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