Alte Schäfflerei in the Benediktbeuern Monastery

© Wikimedia Commons
Historical engraving of the Benediktbeuern Monastery by Michael Wening (1645-1718). Source: Wening engraving, Bavarian State Office for Surveying and Geoinformation.

The Alte Schäfflerei, part of the former trade area of the Benediktbeuern Monastery, dates from the second half of the 18th century. The Benediktbeuern Monastery itself is one of the oldest monasteries in Upper Bavaria and was founded back in the 8th century. The construction of the baroque monastery complex started in 1699.

The building of the Alte Schäfflerei has a baroque hipped roof with a king post construction and is a listed building. Originally a barrelmaker's shop for crafting barrels for the monastery’s adjacent brewery, it was later used as a workshop and blacksmith’s as well as a dormitory for people carrying out community service. The establishment of the Fraunhofer Center for Conservation and Energy Performance of Historic Buildings Benediktbeuern in the Alte Schäfflerei and the comprehensive renovation of the historical building between 2010 and 2016 have breathed new life into the listed building and given it a new purpose.

Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787-1826), who gave the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft its name, is regarded as the founder of scientific methodology for applied research in the fields of optics and precision mechanics. Between 1807 and 1819, at the Optical Institute of the Benediktbeuern Monastery, he developed the first streak-free lens for optical measuring instruments and made the groundbreaking discovery of the spectral lines in sunlight (the Fraunhofer lines are named after him), which revolutionized optics and laid the foundations for spectroscopy. His former workplace, the Historical Glassworks, one of the buildings in the monastery, is now a museum.

The Salesians of Don Bosco have lived in the monastery since 1930. They turned the old monastery into a modern study center with a philosophical/theological college (until 2013), with a technical college for social work, several youth education centers and a youth leisure center. The ZUK Center for Environment and Culture and the Benediktbeuern Monastery Guest House also offer overnight accommodation.