The former Cistercian Abbey of Maulbronn was built in the 12th century and is one of the few completely preserved medieval monasteries north of the Alps. The center of the complex is the Romanesque monastery church with the monastery courtyard as well as various commercial and residential buildings. The late Gothic fountain house is the highlight of the monastery.
Maulbronn monastery: facts
|Official title:||Maulbronn monastery complex|
|Cultural monument:||Monastery complex with a monastery church in the Romanesque-Gothic transition style, with a chapter house, refectory for laymen and gentlemen and a sophisticated network of drainage and irrigation canals|
|Country:||Germany, Baden-Wuerttemberg, see eningbo|
|Location:||Maulbronn, northwest of Stuttgart|
|Meaning:||one of the best preserved medieval monasteries north of the Alps|
Maulbronn monastery: history
|1147||Foundation of the monastery|
|05/11/1178||Consecration of the three-aisled monastery church|
|1196-1216||especially under Abbot Konrad I. Expansion of the monastery and redesign in the Romanesque-Gothic transition style|
|around 1200||Construction of the lay refectory|
|around 1370||Relief group rich in figures of the erection of the cross, crucifixion and entombment|
|1430||Construction of the benefice house with infirmary|
|around 1470||Completion of the carved choir stalls|
|1494/95||late Gothic building of the parlatorium and oratory|
|1519||Attack of the men by Franz von Sickingen|
|1556||Establishment of a Protestant monastery school|
|1807||Establishment of the evangelical-theological seminar|
»The large Cistercian monastery of Maulbronn is located in the north-west of the country between wooded hills and small, quiet lakes. The beautiful old buildings are spacious, solid and well preserved and would be a tempting place to live, because they are magnificent, inside and out, and they have grown together nobly and intimately over the centuries with their quiet, beautiful, green surroundings. If you want to visit the monastery, you step through a picturesque gate that opens the high wall onto a wide and very quiet square. A fountain runs there, and there are old, serious trees and on both sides old stone and solid houses and in the background the front of the main church with a late Romanesque vestibule, called Paradise, of a graceful, delightful beauty beyond compare. ”
As idyllic as Hermann Hesse described Maulbronn in his novella “Under the Wheel”, the Cistercian monastery still presents itself to visitors today. It is difficult to avoid the beguiling effect of the ascetic Cistercian architecture. For Nobel laureate Hesse, who – like Johannes Kepler and Friedrich Hölderlin before him – attended the evangelical monastery school in Maulbronn, his school days were torture despite the beautiful surroundings: after just a few months, in the spring of 1892, Hesse fled from what he hated, still today existing educational institution.
The monastery exemplarily reflects the spirit of the order founded in Cîteaux in 1098. True to the wording of the Benedictine monastery rules, the Cistercians strived for religious perfection. For this purpose, the monks shut themselves off from the noise and screams of the world behind the thick monastery walls. They therefore only founded their abbeys in the solitude of a forest or in a valley that is difficult to access. In 1147 monks from the Alsatian Neuburg set out to plant the new order ideal in the valley of the Salzach at the request of Walter von Lomersheim, a Swabian knight.
The principle of “being alone with oneself”, the power of faith that grew out of the solitude of meditation, could only develop in the seclusion of a monastery like Maulbronn; With the ascetic simplicity of their buildings, the monks were a reminder of the poverty and unpretentiousness of early Christianity. The understanding of physical work as participation in God’s work is also evident in the functionalism of the Maulbronn facilities; colorful glass windows or even bell towers were frowned upon.
A strict life in denial of the world and apostolic poverty, renouncing the comforts that had become common in other monasteries, the Benedictine Rule should not only be fulfilled to the letter, but also according to its true meaning. The Cistercian monks did not want to live from basic rights and sovereignty, not from the interest and taxes of the peasants, but from what they wrestled with the sweat of their brow from the ground on which they had settled. A large space in the extensive, walled monastery complex was therefore reserved for the farm buildings. There is even a mill within the walls.
Due to its excellently preserved medieval structure, Maulbronn can undoubtedly be described as the most beautiful Cistercian monastery east of the Rhine. The buildings and facilities remained almost unchanged, as Maulbronn, due to the turmoil of the Reformation, was secularized in the first half of the 16th century and used as a Protestant monastery school. The elongated monastery church in particular impresses with its harmonious proportions; a choir screen separates the lay church from the eastern part reserved for monks, which ends in the windowless choir typical of the Cistercians. Another architectural highlight is the adjoining cloister with the high Gothic well chapel.