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Cistercian Sites in Europe

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The general tourist public, like historians and art lovers, show a growing interest in the medieval period and particularly in the Cistercian world. It is this widespread interest that forms the basis for the founding of the Charter, which currently brings together more than 150 Cistercian abbeys and sites open to the public. From its foundation in 1098, Cîteaux had an impact on this period due to its desire for perfection, which attracted eminent young nobles, such as Bernard de Clairveaux. In its asceticism, the Order respected the two founding principles of the Rule of Saint Benedict: prayer and work.

This faith, that considered work to be a prayer, supported the development of the Cistercian monasteries together with their granges, mills and smithies into an ordered rural environment with a structured network of several hundred establishments. Situated well away from towns, one can still discover these Cistercian sites, which continue to provide a lesson written in their stones, their landscapes and their woods. Today, the Cistercian mastery of nature, of techniques and of construction constitutes an invaluable legacy.   

Languages: English and French
Editor:  European Charter of Cistercian Abbeys and Sites