Chorin Cistercian Abbey

History

Chorin Abbey was founded as a filiation of the Lehnin Abbey by the Margraves of Brandenburg. Before construction began at the current site in Chorin, an abbey was built on the shores of the Parsteiner See in Mariensee. However, the location proved to be unsuitable for economic development and the abbey moved to Chorin. The abbey’s holdings spanned 13 villages, eleven monastic granges and two townhouses. Owing to its border location, Chorin was at the centre of political events – the abbots even acted as electoral advisors from the middle of the 15th century. Between 1542 and 1543, as part of the Reformation, the abbey was dissolved and converted to an electoral estate. In the 18th century, the first archaeological and architectural studies were carried out on the site, including work undertaken by the renowned architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel.

Site

The early Gothic complex on Amtssee was conceived as a representative house and burial abbey by the Ascanians. Of the three-winged cloister, the east and west wing are still intact today, as is the hospital – also known as the abbot’s house – and the church to the north. Of the ancillary buildings, the ruins of a mill and a brewhouse still remain.

Location

The ruins of the abbey are located in the scenic Schorfheide-Chorin UNESCO biosphere reserve, with its numerous lakes and forest. The neighbouring towns of Oderberg and Eberswalde offer picturesque settings and historical sights. The heritage-protected Niederfinow boat lift on the Finow Canal dates from 1934.

Highlights

The imposing site is one of the most important brickwork landmarks in northern Germany. Particular features include the west facade of the formerly three-aisled abbey and the elaborate brick embellishments; numerous moulded-brick friezes – including lily, vine and animal friezes – and detail-rich corbelled arches. Murals from the early 14th century can be seen in the west wing. The “Choriner Musiksommer” concerts are among the most popular cultural dates in Brandenburg.