Unique insights into a monastery church and school

Alpirsbach Monastery

Exterior of Alpirsbach Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Markus Schwerer
CENTER OF THE MONASTIC WORLD

THE CLOISTERED

CONCLAVE

The clean organization of the Romanesque architecture was completed in parts of the conclave and cloister between 1480 and 1495, with the addition of sweeping Gothic arches. Almost completely preserved, the conclave conveys a vivid picture of monastic life.

Cloister at Alpirsbach Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Markus Schwerer

The center of the conclave: the cloister.

WORKING AND SLEEPING IN THE EAST WING

The conclave, once only accessible to monks, includes the cloister (a roofed passage around the monastery's central courtyard) and adjacent rooms for the monks. The east wing, which connects directly to the church, housed the monks' sleeping quarters, the dormitory. The work and common rooms, such as the chapter house, the parlatory (or speaking room) and the refectory were located on the ground floor. The monks would gather in these rooms, converse and pursue their spiritual endeavors.

Abbot's quarters at Alpirsbach Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Rose Hajdu

Late Gothic abbot's room with oriel.

SOUTH AND WEST WINGS: MEALS AND ADMINISTRATION

The refectory (the monks' dining hall), the calefactory (or warming room) and the kitchen were all located in the south wing. The west wing housed the monastery gate, connecting the conclave to the outside world. The abbot's quarters on the upper floor included a living room, reception area and office. The surviving remnants of late Gothic decor and paintings demonstrate the display of splendor common in that period. The ground floor offered access to the monastery's larder, or cellarium, which is now used as the information center.

View of the northeast corner of the cloister at Alpirsbach Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Werner Hiller-König

Almost everything under one roof.

AN ABBOT MODERNIZES

Traces of the Romanesque cloister can now only be found in the east wing. Abbot Hieronymus Hulzing ordered modifications to the cloister in 1480. These renovations resulted in structural changes in the entire conclave. A second story was added to the cloister and, with the exception of the western most portion, joined the adjacent conclave buildings under a single roof. This is how in the north wing, for example, the open gallery to the church's south aisle was created.

Keystone on ceiling crown in the cloister at Alpirsbach Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Rose Hajdu

A once colorfully painted keystone.

ORNATE TRACERY AND MAGNIFICENT KEYSTONES

All of the cloister windows facing the interior courtyard were adorned with ornate tracery. They were also likely outfitted with glass, which did not survive. All passages were covered in an ornate, fine-mesh ribbed vault. Stunningly beautiful keystones with richly varied images adorn the ceiling crown. The majestic impression made by the cloister was once emphasized by colorful paintings.

Cloister at Alpirsbach Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Markus Schwerer
Visitors in the cloister at Alpirsbach Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Niels Schubert

The cloister is ready for discovery.

Mehr erfahren

Kunstwerke & Räume
Stilepochen

Please select maximally 5 keywords.