During the Peasants’ War the abbey lost all its properties and became subject to secular regulations as a result of the introduction of the Reformation in the county of Schwarzburg. Eight years after the Benedictine abbey was dissolved in 1534 and the monks displaced, the estate passed into the ownership of Count Gunther XL of Schwarzburg. This spelt the gradual decline of the entire abbey complex and stones from the ruins were used to construct other buildings.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was highly impressed by the picturesque ruins of the abbey. Although in those days, as he wrote himself, it was 'unfashionable to view these monastic ruins as being highly significant and sacred’, they had been ‘extolled as a spectacular sight’ and so he spent his 68th birthday there.
Today the ruins of the abbey are some of the most significant Romanesque constructions in Germany and are an insider’s tip for all fans of this architectural style.
Crossing the Rennsteig, the most famous hiking trail in Germany, you continue up to the ridge of the Thuringian Forest to Frauenwald. Located right on the main trading route between Erfurt and Nuremburg – which itself was part of the long-distance road between Denmark and Italy – crossing the Rennsteig Trail was considered the major route here in Frauenwald due to the long, gentle incline. Luther took this route via Frauenwald eleven times on his journeys to Rome and twice he is said to have stayed overnight in a nearby monastery.