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Unesco World Heritage Site

Maulbronn Monastery

Exterior of lay wing at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth
GREAT ARCHITECTURAL ACHIEVEMENTS

THE HERMITAGE AND THE

MONASTERY CHURCH

The monastery church and the hermitage buildings and cloister form the heart of the monastery complex. Styles and stages from Romanesque to late Gothic are all represented in this one, small, unique and atmospheric spot.

Interior of monks' refectory at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

The majestic monks' refectory.

STRUCTURAL MIRACLES OF THE MIDDLE AGES

The Maulbronn hermitage buildings include several rarities of medieval monastery architecture. The narthex, monks' refectory (or dining hall) and the south wing of the cloister were the first examples of early Gothic architecture in Germany. The hermitage buildings, built in around 1200, have been renovated several times. Their history is only partially known, and thus they are of great interest to architectural historians.

Upper floor of the warming house at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Steffen Hauswirth

Only this room, the calefactory, was heated.

EXAMPLES OF DAILY LIFE AT THE MONASTERY

In addition to the monastery church and the larger halls, such as the chapter house, the monk's refectory and the lay refectory, many other spaces tell of the everyday life of the Maulbronn monks. Life at the monastery was full of privation. Only a single room was heated: the calefactory, the monastery's warming house. The addition of individual rooms around the cloister is indicative of the Cistercian's unusual functional architecture.

WELL HIDDEN: THE ENTRANCE TO THE HERMITAGE

The monastery church, with its unusually tall ridged turret, can be seen from quite a distance. The hermitage grounds are directly to its north. The monastery church interior is reached through the arcade, or lay corridor, which is located between the Paradise and the lay refectory in the northwest corner and leads to a hidden monastery gate. Behind the lay corridor, it is also possible to access the cellarium, a deep, arched hall where stone masonry and medieval construction tools are on display.

Cellarium at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Andrea Rachele
Visitors viewing the exhibit on stone masonry in the cellarium at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert

Examples of architectural history: stone masonry and medieval tools displayed in the cellarium.

View into the church's monks choir at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

Monks choir at Christmas.

OF MONKS AND LAITY

In addition to the monks, the monastery was also inhabited by lay brothers, or conversi. They were members of the monastic community but were not ordained. They worked as craftsmen or within the monastery's business activities. Monastic rules stipulated a strict separation between the monks and the laity. This separation also applied in church, where a Romanesque choir screen separated the monks' space from that of the lay brothers.

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