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Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch

During the reign of King Pippin in around 764 AD, this former Benedictine abbey was founded by the Frankish Count Cancor and his mother, Williswinda. In the early Middle Ages it was the intellectual and culture centre of the Franconian Empire. The famous gatehouse or "King's Hall" is one of the very few buildings from Carolingian times that has retained its original appearance over the centuries. It is a reminder of the former enormity of the once mighty abbey complex. Lauded as a "jewel of the Carolingian Renaissance", it is the only preserved architectural monument of European significance from these times, and is one of the most important examples of pre-Romanesque architecture in Germany with its arcades, pilasters and half-columns. The abbey once housed one of the largest libraries of the Middle Ages and was one of leading centres of learning and culture. One of the best-known manuscripts is the "Lorsch pharmacopoeia", which is said to mark the beginnings of modern medicine. In the early Middle Ages medicine was based on herbs and folk remedies. With its extensive herb garden, Lorsch Abbey was a renowned place of healing at this time.