Unesco World Heritage Site

Maulbronn Monastery

Maulbronn Monastery, Lay Refectory; photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth
Dining in great style

The Monks' Refectory

and the Lay Refectory

The monks and lay brothers ate in separate dining halls, the Monk's Refectory and the Lay Refectory. Both were constructed at the beginning of the 13th century. The stately atmosphere of the Monks' Refectory is an impressive testimonial to the early Gothic in Maulbronn.

Maulbronn Monastery, Monks' Refectory; photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

The Monks' Refectory.

Reflective dining: the Monks' Refectory

The Monks ate in silence in the Monks' Refectory. During mealtimes, one brother would read from the Bible and other scripts. From an elevated pulpit on the east wall, he was easily visible to everyone. On the west wall, you can still see the former serving hatch which was situated between the Monks' Refectory and the Lay Refectory and used to serve both halls. The Monks' Refectory came into being as part of the early Gothic building work, probably under the guidance of the so-called Paradies Master.

Maulbronn Monastery, Monks' Refectory; photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert

Visitors in the Maulbronn Monastery Monks' Refectory.

Prestigious architecture

The Monks' requirements for a prestigious hall is clear even from the dimensions of the hall – the Monks' Refectory is 27.20 meters long (89,2 ft), 11.50 meters wide (37,7 ft) and 10.40 meters high (34,1 ft). The high quality stonemasonry is equally worthy of a royal hall. Don't miss the details of the fine 16th century frescoes executed in red that can be seen in the vaults. For example, the image in the spandrel of the second column from the north depicts Duke Ulrich von Württemberg.

Maulbronn Monastery, access to the Lay Refectory; photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

Access to the Lay Refectory.

The Lay Refectory

The lay brothers once entered the dining hall through a porch that extended wide into the monastery courtyard and which also led to their sleeping quarters on the upper floor. Access today is through the portal on the right next to the Romanesque monastery gate. The double-naved Lay Refectory is one of the early 13th century constructions and also served as a utility room. The groined vault supported by seven narrow double columns was not added until 1869.

TIPP

The Lay Refectory today provides an atmospheric setting for chamber music concerts: get the annual program of Maulbronn Monastery concerts – the “Musikfestival im Weltkulturerbe!”

Other highlights of Maulbronn Monastery