Tonight we’re sleeping in a monastery ….well, almost. Our hotel is a bona fide UNESCO World Heritage sight. It was built here right beside the Maulbronn Monastery in Southwestern Germany (and these days it comes with Wi-Fi)
The grounds of the monastery, which was founded in 1147, and the enclosed cloister are strikingly well preserved. I can visualize the monks praying eight times a day, eating their gruel and communicating in sign language (they were not allowed to speak except for in limited circumstances). Monasteries, especially Cistercian monasteries with their simple, orderly purity fascinate me, and the Maulbronn Monastery is everything a monastery should be: remote, pretty, contemplative, and, did I mention pretty? Really super pretty. And peaceful. The monks even had a sophisticated plumbing system and created artificial lakes. The church on the complex was converted to Protestant after the reformation, which suits the austere style of architecture, and has been a school every since. Johannes Kepler and Hermann Hesse are among it’s alumni.
How we got to Maulbronn Monastery: train and bus from Speyer.
Where we slept: Klosterpost Hotel. Price: €79 for a double. Recommended: yes ( I mean, it’s pricey for me, but the location can’t beat).
The monastery church: the style is transitional Gothic. It started Romanesque, but whoa, look at those buttresses!
The carved choir stalls of the church (this one showing King David with his harp in front of the ark of the covenant). The monks started singing at 2 am and they weren’t supposed to sit, but they could sort of lean back on the choir stall.
The Paralatorium–the only place the monks were allowed to talk.
Fountain in cloister.
Pillars on the Paradies porch. I love all the different heights of the capitals!
Grounds of the complex.
Grain was stored here.
Who is this schmuck I met at the monastery?
I went left.
Were the lakes fishponds?
Yes, fishponds and also for a hydraulic system, using locks.