Maulbronn Monastery, Lay Refectory

Dining in great styleThe Monks' Refectoryand 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 example of Early Gothic in Maulbronn.

Maulbronn Monastery, Monks' Refectory

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 was built as part of the Early Gothic construction work, probably under the guidance of the "Paradise Master".

Maulbronn Monastery, Monks' Refectory

Visitors to the Maulbronn Monastery Monks' Refectory

Prestigious architecture

The Monks' requirements for a representative hall is clear even from the dimensions: The Monks' Refectory is 27.2 meters long (89.2 ft), 11.5 meters wide (37.7 ft) and 10.4 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, entrance to the Lay Refectory

Entrance 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.

Today, the Lay Refectory provides an atmospheric setting for chamber music concerts. Pick up this year’s program of Maulbronn Monastery concerts “Musikfestival im Weltkulturerbe!”