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Cistercian Monks Museum at Walkenried Abbey
A journey back in time to the days of the enterprising White Monks

The Cistercian Monks Museum was opened in the climatic health resort of Walkenried in the southern Harz in 2006. Housed in Germany's only 12th century abbey, it is one of the largest and most innovative museums of its kind in Europe, offering a fascinating insight into medieval times and painting a vivid picture of monastic life.
Walkenried Abbey, the third Cistercian abbey to be established in Germany, was founded by Adelheid of Walkenried in 1127. It was run by the Order of White Monks. The name derives from the white habits which were used to distinguish its members from the black-robed Benedictine monks. In the order's heyday in the 13th century, around 80 monks and as many as 200 lay brothers lived at the abbey. Touring the abbey enclosure with its distinctive double cloister and handsome church ruins is akin to a journey back in time. Audio-visual recreations of medieval and monastic life bring the history of the abbey to life.
The Cistercians are presented as deeply religious men of the church, but are also revealed to have had an astute sense for business. The museum covers everything from their self-sufficiency and ventures, their spiritual dedication and the Cistercian architecture to the ultimate downfall of the order. All in all, it's a great way for people to experience for themselves the regimented spiritual existence endured on a daily basis by the monks. Boredom doesn't stand a chance. The ancient buildings, the life and times of the monks and the stories from bygone days are as fascinating for adults as they are for children.
A number of key areas in the abbey enclosure, most notably the cloister, the well house, the chapter hall, the fraternity hall, the refectory and the archive, accommodate exhibitions and presentations that provide information on the historical setting in question, without detracting visually from its authentic ambience. Close your eyes and you could well imagine that the White Monks have returned to their abbey. There are many highlights in the events calendar here: the cloister concerts which date back more than 20 years and attract performers from around the world, the annual night-time opening on Easter Sunday and the international abbey fair on the last weekend in September. An audio guide is also available to help visitors get more out of the authentically preserved halls and rooms of the abbey and the illustrative museum exhibition. Closed on Mondays except for public holidays and on 24 and 31 December. Guided tours available, also for children.



A7, A9, A38, A395, B4, B80, B243, train station