Historvius (mapping history)

List of Abbeys around the World

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There are many incredible historic abbeys across the globe which can still be visited today. In fact the list of abbeys around the world contains some of the most spectacular historic sites to visit, with many having witnessed momentous moments in history as well as being remarkable historical buildings.

An abbey itself is a monastery or a convent which has grown up with an Abbot or Abbess as the leader of the community. While not all monasteries were abbeys, all abbeys were monasteries or convents. Many abbeys were a vital centre of local scholarship and trade and there are many examples of abbeys which often found themselves at the heart of the local community. In some cases entire towns would grow up around an abbey.

Today, while many abbeys remain as centres of religious life others – for example Westminster Abbey – have seen their function change over the centuries. Often abbeys found themselves at the forefront of religious and political change, with many abbeys being closed or re-dedicated during times of upheaval, particularly in Europe.

For those wishing to explore the list of abbeys around the world, our selection of historic abbeys below can provide a good starting point. Remember, you can always shortlist abbeys of the world as you go and build your own personalised pocket guidebook to take with you on your tour.

List of Abbeys around the World : Site Index

  • Abbaye aux Hommes Abbaye aux Hommes
    The Abbaye aux Hommes is an 11th century Romanesque abbey church in Caen, Normandy, known for being William the Conqueror’s gravesite.
    Photo by @lain G (cc)

  • Abbaye Saint-Victor Abbaye Saint-Victor
    An 11th century abbey in Marseille, Abbaye Saint-Victor has a fascinating crypt housing a number of early Christian tombs.
    Photo by acor-cannes (cc)

  • Basilica of St Denis Basilica of St Denis
    Though now a cathedral, the Basilica of St Denis was originally an abbey dedicated to Saint Denis. It is one of many abbeys in the world to have become a place of pilgrimage.
    Photo by kyllercg (cc)

  • Bath Abbey Bath Abbey
    An abbey with a turbulent history, Bath Abbey went through a number of versions before being destroyed by Henry VIII in the 15th century and restored under Elizabeth I.
    Photo by stevecadman (cc)

  • Battle Abbey and Battlefield Battle Abbey and Battlefield
    Location of the famous Battle of Hastings, this beautiful former abbey is now a museum dedicated to exploring the events of that famous day in 1066.
    Photo by rowland_rick (cc)

  • Bayham Old Abbey Bayham Old Abbey
    One of many historic abbeys in England, Bayham Old Abbey was a medieval monastery closed by Henry VIII and now in a state of ruin.
    Photo by hughrocks (cc)

  • Beaulieu Abbey Beaulieu Abbey
    Beaulieu Abbey is an early 13th century historic monastic complex, partially destroyed in the reign of Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The site is home to the National Motor Museum.
    Photo by Dave Hamster (cc)

  • Byland Abbey Byland Abbey
    Byland Abbey was a prominent twelfth century monastery which now lies as a pretty ruin in Yorkshire.
    Photo by jonoakley (cc)

  • Carmo Convent Carmo Convent
    Carmo Convent is a ruined medieval convent in Lisbon now used as an museum.
    Photo by Vic Lic (cc)

  • Dunfermline Abbey and Palace Dunfermline Abbey and Palace
    A good example of abbeys which have been used as a centre for royalty, Dunfermline Abbey and Palace was a royal residence and the burial site of several Scottish monarchs.
    Photo by phault (cc)

  • Einsiedeln Abbey Einsiedeln Abbey
    An interesting addition to any list of abbeys, Einsiedeln Abbey is a beautiful Benedictine monastery with a history dating to the ninth century AD.
    Photo by Stephi 2006 (cc)

  • Fonte Avellana Fonte Avellana
    Consecrated as an abbey in 1325AD, Fonte Avellana is a picturesque medieval hermitage in Italy which is still a working monastery.

  • Fountains Abbey Fountains Abbey
    One of the most famous abbeys of the world, Fountains Abbey was a thriving monastery until Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries left it in ruins.

  • Fraumunster Fraumunster
    Renowned for its stained glass windows, Fraumunster is a medieval church and former convent which is one of the most famous sites in Zurich.
    Photo by Al Ianni (cc)

  • Furness Abbey Furness Abbey
    Furness Abbey is a partially ruined 12th century monastery which now operates as a tourist attraction and museum.
    Photo by piddy77 (cc)

  • Glastonbury Abbey Glastonbury Abbey
    Ranking among the most important historic abbeys in Britain, Glastonbury Abbey is the legendary burial place of King Arthur.
    Photo by davidboeke (cc)

  • Inchcolm Abbey Inchcolm Abbey
    An impressive abbey in the UK, Inchcolm Abbey is a 12th century monastery turned abbey located in an important defensive position.
    Photo by Andy Hawkins (cc)

  • Jervaulx Abbey Jervaulx Abbey
    The ruins of the 12th Century Cistercian monastery of Jervaulx Abbey, situated in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales.
    Photo by mattbuck4950 (cc)

  • Mont Saint-Michel Mont Saint-Michel
    Best known for its stunning Romanesque Benedictine Abbey, Mont Saint-Michel is an imposing rocky outcrop in Normandy which contains a number of interesting historic sites.
    Photo by misotonnkotu (cc)

  • Pirita Convent Pirita Convent
    A fifteenth century nunnery of the order of St. Bridget, Pirita Convent now stands as a picturesque ruin and is an interesting example of ruined abbeys around the world.

  • Saint-Remi Abbey Saint-Remi Abbey
    Built in the 11th century, Saint-Remi Abbey houses the tomb of Saint Remi and is one of many abbeys around the world to be UNESCO listed.

  • Sainte-Foy Abbey Sainte-Foy Abbey
    An important stop on any list of abbeys, Sainte-Foy Abbey in Conques was one of the places along the historic pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.

  • San Augustin San Augustin
    The Temple of Saint Augustin is a 16th-century abbey in Acolman in Mexico.

  • Selby Abbey Selby Abbey
    In existence since 1069, Selby Abbey has been used for worship for over 900 years. Not especially well known despite being its beauty and archaic stance, Selby is nevertheless among the most impressive medieval abbeys today.
    Photo by Neil T (cc)

  • St Matthias Abbey - Trier St Matthias Abbey - Trier
    Consecrated in 1148, St Matthias Abbey houses the grave of its namesake, the apostle, St Mathias.

  • St. Anna’s Church of Kokar St. Anna’s Church of Kokar
    St. Anna’s Church of Kokar is a pretty stone church in Aland and renowned for its fourteenth century Franciscan convent.

  • Vezelay Basilica Vezelay Basilica
    Also known as Vezelay Abbey, Vezelay Basilica is a 12th century Romanesque church once said to have housed Mary Magdalene’s relics.
    Photo by aurélien. (cc)

  • Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey
    One of the most famous abbeys in the world, and probably the most famous of all abbeys in Britain, Westminster Abbey is an iconic medieval structure and site of many historic royal events.
    Photo by Mark Ramsay (cc)

  • Whitby Abbey Whitby Abbey
    Among several ruined abbeys in the UK, Whitby Abbey is a picturesque cliff-top ruin of a thirteenth century Benedictine abbey in Yorkshire.

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