Maulbronn Monastery, Fountain House

A Maulbronn LandmarkThe Fountain House

The building with the three-bowl fountain is one of the most popular visual icons of Maulbronn Monastery. The monks used the Fountain House for cleaning, for ritual washing and for cutting their tonsures. The Fountain House received its fresh water from mountain springs north of the monastery.

Maulbronn Monastery, Fountain House

A building made of many centuries

The creation of the Fountain House

The Fountain House is located in the north wing, opposite the Monks' Refectory. It was initially built in the 13th century in a circular shape that reached chest height. Between 1340 and 1350, five tracery windows were added along with the ceiling vaults. The half-timbered structure dates back to circa 1611 and probably followed plans by Swabian master builder Heinrich Schickhardt.

Maulbronn Monastery, Fountain House, 1865 photography by J.A. Lorent

The fountain bowl in a photograph from 1865

The fountain: out with the old and in with the new

Only the lower bowl of the Fountain House's medieval fountain remains. In 1878, art historian and conservationist Eduard Paulus Jr. believed he found another part of the fountain: on the medieval abbots' fountain in the east monastery courtyard. However, when the two sections were put together, this idea was proven wrong. The middle and top bowl were therefore added as new pieces and only the bronze top piece originates from the abbots' fountain.

When you are in the Fountain House, take a moment to look up! The red ochre paintings in the vaults are original. The paintings, executed in red, depict several ornamental pieces as well as one special scene: the legend of founding the monastery with the mule drinking at the fountain.

Other highlights of Maulbronn Monastery