in the Harz mountains of Germany
, founded in the 9th century by Liudolf, Duke of Saxony
. Its abbess
was entitled to a seat in the Imperial Diet
. She was essentially a feudal baron: she had her own men-at-arms, law courts, and even coinage
with her image imprinted on it. During the 10th century, it was the local seat of culture
The site of the convent was chosen by the Duke when local swineherds reported mysterious lights in the forest. The night before the Festival of Saints, the Duke himself saw these lights and ordered a church layed out as traced by the red lights. The stones for the building were not available locally, and legend has it that Abbess Hathumoda had a vision telling her to follow a bird, and upon waking she led masons to follow a white dove who pierced the ground with its beak- whereupon the masons uncovered a suitable quarry.
The Pope, at the request of Liudolf, granted relics to Gandersheim, and allowed pieces of the bodies of St. Anastasius and St. Innocent to be cut right before Liudolf's eyes to take back to the convent for veneration.