Hornbach is a municipality in the Südwestpfalz
Südwestpfalz is a district in the south of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Neighboring districts are Saarpfalz, the district-free city Zweibrücken, the districts Kaiserslautern and Bad Dürkheim, the district-free city Landau , Südliche Weinstraße, and the French département Bas-Rhin...

 district, in Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has an area of and about four million inhabitants. The capital is Mainz. English speakers also commonly refer to the state by its German name, Rheinland-Pfalz ....

, Germany. It is situated southwest of the Palatinate forest, on the border with France, south of Zweibrücken
Zweibrücken is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Schwarzbach river.- Name :Zweibrücken appears in Latin texts as Geminus Pons and Bipontum, in French texts as Deux-Ponts. The name derives from Middle High German Zweinbrücken...

. It is part of the Verbandsgemeinde
A Verbandsgemeinde is an administrative unit in the German Bundesländer of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt.-Rhineland-Palatinate:...

("collective municipality") Zweibrücken-Land
Zweibrücken-Land is a Verbandsgemeinde in the Südwestpfalz district, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is situated on the southwestern edge of the Palatinate forest, around Zweibrücken...


The monastery was the most likely reason for the founding of the town of Hornbach. According to legend, Saint Pirmin
Saint Pirmin
Saint Pirmin , also named Pirminius, was a monk, strongly influenced by Celtic Christianity and Saint Amand.-Biography:...

 (†11/3/753) chose this area for the foundation of the monastery. A plaque in the renovated monastery museum indicates that the monastery was founded in 737. Pirmin is buried in a crypt near the old church, a short distance from the monastery.

In 1220, Hornbach was under the direct ecclesiastical rule of the Bishop of Metz. King Charles IV
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles IV , born Wenceslaus , was the second king of Bohemia from the House of Luxembourg, and the first king of Bohemia to also become Holy Roman Emperor....

, Holy Roman Emperor 1316-1378, also known as King Karl IV of Weisswasser in Bohemia, gave the town Hornbach its town rights on 16 April 1352, in connection with the establishment of a mayoral office.

Hieronymus Bock
Hieronymus Bock
Hieronymus Bock was a German botanist, physician, and Lutheran minister who began the transition from medieval botany to the modern scientific worldview by arranging plants by their relation or resemblance....

, considered the first modern botanist, lived at the monastery beginning in 1533.

'Hornbach was supposedly uninhabited from 1636 for 3 years, during the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 (1618–1648). At this time, the completely emptied and desolate area was avoided by the troops. Due to the war, the number of citizens decreased from 88 families, 10 widows with 75 houses to 30 citizens and 5 widows. 40% of the population was evacuated. The craftsmen began the rebuilding in 1648. In 1657, the reinstatement of the town rights was confirmed. With respect to agriculture, in Zweibrücken as in Westrich, where there were extensive vineyards, these vineyards were not replanted'. After the war, the Dukes of Zweibrücken called Tryolean and Swiss immigrants into their emptied lands (Westrich). During the "Reunion" (1680–1697), the Duchy Palatinate-Zweibrücken was incorporated into the centralist French state. Foreign immigrants were encouraged to settle in the Saar and Alsace provinces by receiving generous privileges. On 17 October 1680, the French government promised settlers the following: cattle, goods, and money, in addition to a tax-free period of 10 years. Later, the Duchy of Palatinate-Zweibrücken fell as a result of the French Revolution. See also, "Schweizer Einwanderer im Westrich, 1650-1750, Zweibrucker Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Familienforschung 1995, ISBN 3-924171-23-8."

The historic town sits on a hill between Horn Brook and Schwalb Brook, and is encircled by a defensive wall, and town gates. A 'Stadtplan des Favart' showing the encircling stone wall, interior streets, church, monastery, and other buildings was produced circa 1704.

An historic Town Hall (Rathaus) remains in public use.

After extensive stabilization and a beautiful renovation with historic and archaeological sensitivity, the original monastery is currently used as a modern hotel, restaurant and cafe, the Kloster-Hornbach. A portion of the space houses a museum.

The New Church-the Evangelist Protestant Church built in 1785, stands next to the monastery. It is an expansion and renovation of the old Church, which was utilized for hundreds of years prior to that date . There is also a very old Church, next to the tomb of Pirminius.
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