Station: [11] Winter Refectory

M 1: In medieval times, a collegiate foundation or monastery like Jerichow was a place where people gathered. They lived in a community. Everything was shared. Each individual only had a small amount of space, but the rooms used by everyone were large. The canons in Jerichow spent most of their days together. For worship, they gathered in the church; for meetings, in the chapter house, for a brief night's rest, in the dormitory; and for meals, they came together in the refectory. The complex actually has two of those – the Summer Refectory, which is open to the cloister, and this room: the Winter Refectory. It’s fully enclosed, which means it’s warmer, so meals were taken in here during the colder months.

F 2: The room used to be even larger. Have you noticed the last column? These days, it’s partly bricked up in a wall that was built at a later date. In medieval times, nobody would have dreamt of having such handsome columns vanish into a wall. Where large spaces were required, people turned to architecture for solutions. Hence the novelty of rooms with vaulted ceilings resting on just a few columns. The entire weight of the ceiling was concentrated at those points. This was a new construction method at the time. Its great advantage was that no load-bearing interior walls blocked the view, and people were able to move about freely within the space.

Foto: © Stiftung Kloster Jerichow