priory and church

Brief description.


Konstanz was founded as a Roman fort in the 4th cent. A.D. and became an Episcopal see at the end of the 6th cent. The Bishops became powerful and held large territories, including much of Baden-Württemberg and Switzerland, as princes of the Holy Roman Empire. In Konstanz in 1183, Emperor Frederick I recognized the Lombard League. Located on a trade route between Germany and Italy, Konstanz became a free imperial city in 1192.

From 4 November 1414 till 22 April 1418, the priory and church of the Dominicans were the meeting halls for the members of the Council of Constance,

In 1531 the city, which had accepted the Reformation, joined the Schmalkaldic League. Emperor Charles V, after defeating the League, deprived Konstanz of its free imperial status and gave it to his brother, later Emperor Ferdinand I. Konstanz was in Austrian hands from 1548 until it was ceded (1805) to Baden.

The Bishopric was suppressed in 1821, and the diocese was abolished in 1827. Among the numerous historic buildings in Konstanz are the cathedral (11th cent.; additions 15th and 17th cent.); the Council building (1388); and a former Dominican priory (now a hotel). Konstanz is the seat of a university.


Dominicans in Konstanz.

In 1235 the Dominicans founded a priory in Konstanz, and in 1255 their gothic church. The Dominican Heinrich Suso (1295-1366) was a member of this priory and the prior from 1295 till 1306.lived there till 1340. From 4 November 1414 till 22 April 1418, the priory and church were the meeting halls for the members of the Council of Constance, one of the great assemblies of medieval times. It had three aims: (1) restoration of unity in the Church (ending the Great Schism); (2) reform of the Church; and (3) extirpation of heresy, particularly the Hussite heresy.

During this Council, the Greek Chrysoloras died in the priory, and Jan Hus (ca. 2370-6 July 1415) was there incarcerated. He was condemned by the council for his opinions on 6 July 1415,  and burned alive on the same day.


Through the ages the influence of the Dominican community was great, until the Emperor Josef II by his legislation closed the priory in 1785. Then it was the living and workplace for immigrants of Geneva in the cotton factory.


In the priory was born count Ferdinand von Zeppelin on 8 July 1838, (+8 March 1917), airship inventor and builder (1900).

Since 1874 the complex is the Inselhotel. The frescoes (1888) about the life of Heinrich Suso are painted on the walls of the cloister.


The church is now the banquet room of the hotel. At the foundation of the university of Konstanz (1966) some lecture-rooms were in a wing of the buildings, and the church was the library till 1972/1973. 








The front of the Inselhotel,
former the Dominican priory of Konstanz.


Baden (Germany) 1949, Mi 46, Sc 5N141.






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