Doberlug Cistercian Abbey

History

Dobrilugk Abbey, founded in 1165, is the oldest Cistercian abbey in the state of Brandenburg. By the turn of the 13th century, the site consisted of the abbey church, cloister and several ancillary buildings. The abbey’s assets in the local region were enhanced by generous endowments. As part of the Reformation, the abbey was dissolved in 1541. Plundered and vandalised during the Thirty Years’ War, the abbey church was newly consecrated as a castle church and the abbot’s house was converted into a Renaissance-style moated castle. In 1852, the cloister of the former abbey almost burnt down completely. During the GDR era, the refectory was used as a cultural centre. At the end of the 20th century, the local government and the Schloss Doberlug Association facilitated a series of comprehensive restoration measures at the complex.

Site

In addition to the abbey church and the refectory – the monastic dining room – remains of the abbot’s house at Dobrilugk Abbey still exist in Doberlug Castle. As does the St Mary’s abbey church, one of the earliest vaulted Cistercian buildings in Brandenburg. Of its Baroque features, the organ loft and royal lodge are still intact. The coloured murals, glazing and the Renaissance-style choir stalls, on the other hand, date from a 1905-1909 restoration.

Location

Located in the lowlands of the Kleine Elster valley in south-western Brandenburg, Dobrilugk Abbey is in the immediate vicinity of the Lower Lusatian Heathland reserve. Blossoming purple in August, the reserve is a habitat for many rare bird species.

Highlights

With its castle, Renaissance town hall, St. Mary’s abbey church and Europe’s only white tannery museum, the town of Doberlug-Kirchhain offers visitors architecture from the Romanesque to the Baroque period. The castle rooms and refectory, renovated at the turn of the century, are home to exhibitions and cultural events. In the surrounding area, the Lower Lusatian Heath Nature Park and the ‛Little Spreewald’ can be explored by bike or horse-drawn carriage.

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