Carmelite monks founded St. Anne’s as cloister and church in 1321. In the 15th and early 16th c., the church was enlarged; first, the Goldsmiths’ Chapel with its gothic frescoes then followed by the Fugger Chapel, which was the first ecclesiastical Renaissance-style building in Germany.
The church achieved historic significance through Martin Luther, who resided in the cloister from October 7-20, 1518. Luther had been called to Augsburg to meet with the papal legate, Cardinal Thomas Cajetan, and recant his teachings, but he refused and fled the city. The so-called “Luther Staircase” houses a display of documents relating to the beginnings of the Reformation.
In 1551, in the rooms of the abandoned cloister, St. Anne’s School (Gymnasium) was founded. Soon thereafter followed a new schoolhouse and library designed by Elias Holl. In 1607, he added the church tower.
Between 1747 and 1749, the church was remodeled and received valuable paintings by well-known artists such as Lukas Cranach and Jörg Breu and a chancel by Heinrich Eichler.