Kloster Eberbach was founded in 1136 by Bernard of Clairvaux as the first Cistercian monastery on the east bank of the Rhine, on the site of a previous monastic foundation of Adalbert of Mainz, which had been occupied at first by Augustinian canons and then by Benedictine monks, which had however failed to establish itself.
Eberbach soon became one of the largest and most active monasteries of Germany. From it a number of other foundations were made: Schönau Abbey near Heidelberg in 1142; Otterberg Abbey in the Palatinate in 1144; Gottesthal Abbey near Liege in 1155; and Arnsburg Abbey in the Wetterau in 1174. At its height in the 12th and 13th centuries, the population is estimated to have been about 100 monks and over 200 lay brothers.
In the winter of 1985/86 some of the interior scenes of The Name of the Rose were filmed here. The abbey is a main venue of the annual Rheingau Musik Festival.