Station: [2] Farmyard and the Junior Masons’ Lodge

Both the Cistercian nunnery and its successor, the Ladies’ Collegiate Foundation, were largely self-contained worlds, surrounded by a wall for hundreds of years. If you look at the area to the left of the entrance, you can still see the remains of that wall in their original form.

But this was also a commercial enterprise. The abbey owned many hundreds of hectares of open land and forest as well as three mills and four outlying estates. The utility buildings, where the farm produce was processed and stored and the livestock housed, still stand on the southern edge of the abbey grounds. Among the smaller buildings next to them on the right a distillery, where potatoes were turned into brandy. They also provided accommodation for an estate inspector and the master distiller. 

After the land reform of 1946, Heiligengrabe’s former outlying estates became an agricultural cooperative specialising in plant breeding. Today, some of the buildings house a teaching facility run by the Brandenburg Junior Masons’ Lodge. Young people from all over the world can complete a voluntary social year at the facility. The centre includes accommodation for the participants, conference rooms and workshops including a kiln and a forge. And of course, the young adults at the Junior Masons’ Lodge also lend a hand with the renovation of the abbey buildings or the conservation of the historic gardens.

All depictions © Sarah Romeyke