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Unesco World Heritage Site

Maulbronn Monastery

Ephorat garden at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Evangelical seminary at Maulbronn
USEFUL OR JUST PRETTY

THE GARDENS

In addition to the cloister garden, at the center of the monastery, there were other gardens in Maulbronn for various uses. In order to remain self-sufficient, the monks planted fruits and vegetables and herbs. One special feature of the monastery is the Ephorat garden: a flower garden for the headmaster of the monastic school.

Cloister garden at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Peter Braun

Enjoy the peace of the cloister garden.

A PLACE OF PEACE AND RETREAT

The cloister garden is the center of the cloister, and thus the center of the monastery. It was a place where monks could retreat for prayer and meditation. Its position within the monastery walls and its highly symmetrical design still invites visitors to linger and unwind. The cloister garden was also a place for rare plants however, which were particularly well-cultivated here. A highlight is the beautiful old magnolia tree, which blooms every spring.

Herb garden at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Peter Braun

Medicinal plants.

DESIGNED IN THE MEDIEVAL STYLE

In addition to spiritual guidance, the monks also provided practical care for the sick and needy. In their herb garden, they grew plants for medicinal use. Maulbronn has once again been home to a herb garden since 2008, laid out according to Benedictine Walahfrid Strabo's 9th-century garden model: four-by-four square beds with various herbs, including common herbs, such as chives and rosemary, as well as those almost forgotten today, such as horehound, used for coughs. 

Ephorat garden at Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Günther Bayerl

An oasis behind the prelature: the Ephorat garden.

A FLOWER GARDEN FOR THE HEADMASTER OF THE MONASTIC SCHOOL

The Ephorat garden was created during the secularization of the monastery. On the site of the old cemetery, fruit trees and vegetables were planted to feed hungry students. The garden took its current shape in the 19th century, along with its unusual name: The headmaster of the monastic school was no longer referred to as an Abbot, but rather as an Ephorus. A small pleasure garden with narrow paths, flower beds and fountains was established for him between the fruit trees.

Vineyards behind Maulbronn Monastery. Image: Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg, Petra Schaffrodt

Closely linked: monastery and vineyard.

PRODUCTIVE: THE MONASTERY VINEYARD

The vineyard to the north of the monastery was established in 1147, shortly after the monastery was founded. The dry stone walls and stairs are constructed of sandstone, typical of steep-slope viticulture in the Neckar Valley. The vineyard was cultivated by lay brothers, who turned the grapes into wine in the wine press at the base of the hill. In the 16th century, residents from the surrounding villages cared for the vineyard: compulsory labor included picking grapes and pruning vines. Today, the vineyards are partially planted with fruit trees.

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