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Unesco World Heritage Site

Maulbronn Monastery

Gothic window in the lay corridor at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff
ORA ET LABORA – THE IDEAL OF A SIMPLE LIFE

MILESTONES

Over the course of 400 years, the Cistercians shaped Maulbronn with their lives and works. Stone quarries and soil and water conditions offered the ideal setting for a cultural landscape that still survives to this day, with the monastery at its center.

Keystone with relief of Bernhard von Clairvaux, Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Bernhard von Clairvaux on the vault keystone.

THE CISTERCIANS AND THEIR ORDER

In the 11th century, due to their growing wealth and splendorous display, the Benedictine Abbey at Cluny had increasingly distanced itself from the ideal of a simple life in accordance with the monastic rules set forth by Saint Benedict: "ora et labora", or "pray and work". With the goal of refocusing on this original monastic ideal, Robert von Molesme founded the Cîteaux reform monastery at Dijon. The order's name was taken from "Cîteaux", for Cistercian.

Construction of the monastery church, outside wing of the founders panel, 1450, Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Construction of the monastery church.

THE FOUNDING OF MAULBRONN

As early as 1138, Cistercians from the Alsace region had established an order in Eckenweiher on the property of Sir Walter von Lomersheim, near present-day Mühlacker. However, the location was geographically unfavorable for the construction of a monastery. Thus, the monks relocated to the upper Salzach River Valley in 1147 and founded the "Mulenbrunnen" Abbey on a secluded site. The name indicates the existence of a spring, a "brunnen", and a mill, a "mühle", taken from the Middle High German word "mulin".

Construction of the monastery church, outside wing of the founders panel, 1450, Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer

Construction of the monastery church.

MEDIEVAL CENTER OF POWER

As early as 1138, Cistercians from the Alsace region had established an order in Eckenweiher on the property of Sir Walter von Lomersheim, near present-day Mühlacker. However, the location was geographically unfavorable for the construction of a monastery. Thus, the monks relocated to the upper Salzach River Valley in 1147 and founded the "Mulenbrunnen" Abbey on a secluded site. The name indicates the existence of a spring, a "brunnen", and a mill, a "mühle", taken from the Middle High German word "mulin".

FROM CISTERCIAN MONASTERY TO MONASTIC SCHOOL

In 1534, as part of the Reformation, Duke Ulrich von Württemberg ordered the dissolution of all Württemberg monasteries. His son, Christoph, assigned the monasteries a new role: From 1556, they served as monastic schools, educating future evangelical ministers. Maulbronn now has a long tradition as a place of learning: The monastic school became the evangelical seminary, which is still in operation today. This unique monastery complex is further distinguished by its designation as a World Heritage Site.

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