Kyritz Franciscan Abbey

History

The Franciscan abbey in Kyritz was erected in the latter half of the 13th century. The order’s prudent policies gained it a high standing; donors included margravial officials and high-ranking citizens of Kyritz. After the dissolution of the friary in 1539, the east wing passed into private ownership and was converted to a residential building. Following their initial use as an alms house, the remaining buildings fell into a state of total disrepair. In the 17th century, the monastic church served as a substitute for the parish church before being demolished in the 18th century. In 2013/14, the surviving sections of the north façade, the nave with gatehouse, the town and abbey wall as well as the garden pavilion were all renovated.

Site

The surviving two-storey enclosure building in the east wing of the complex was once home to the chapter house and the monks’ dining and sleeping quarters. Only ruins of a small, two-storey building remain of the west wing of the enclosure buildings. Like the enclosure wings, construction of the abbey church was begun in fieldstone, but in the second half of the 14th century the church was vaulted in a High Gothic style and given its brick component, still visible today. Parts of the north wall of the nave and remnants of a gateway also survived.

Location

Prignitz, in north-western Brandenburg, is a cultural landscape with an excellent network of cycle routes and hiking trails. The lakes of the Kyritzer Seenkette are ideal for sporting activities, recreation and nature observation. In autumn and winter, thousands of migratory birds stopover in the watery meadows of the Prignitzer Elbauen, part of the UNESCO Elbe River Landscape biosphere reserve since 1999.

Highlights

The open-air stage in the abbey garden has hosted numerous cultural events since the mid-nineties. As well as the annual “Bassewitztag”, the town of Kyritz celebrates its history with the biannual “Lange Nacht des Bassewitz”, an outdoor celebration offering a vibrant medieval programme with knights’ games and a medieval market.