F 2: Jerichow Monastery’s spacious yard is lined with the outbuildings of the former demesne. These are mainly barns, stables, sheds and pens for horses, cattle, pigs and sheep. Although these are more recent structures, this area was within the monastery walls. In 1680, the estate, including the arable farm, livestock breeding and distillery, became a demesne of the Elector of Brandenburg. The word "demesne" comes from the Latin and is linked to the English word domain. In Prussia, the term referred to large estates run by tenants, but owned by the state. The fields that had once belonged to the collegiate foundation remained part of the demesne.
M 1: The spectacular main façade of the church also overlooks the farmyard. The two tall west towers were built after 1200, so they’re more recent than the church proper and the monastic buildings. Given that the surrounding countryside is flat, they’re visible from a great distance. Do you see the three small recesses above the west portal? Each of them contains a terracotta figure. The one in the middle is Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ and patron saint of the church. She is flanked by St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors (on the River Elbe, in this case), and Saint Augustine, one of the church fathers. The Premonstratensian Order followed the Rule of St. Augustine.
F 2: The 19th century led to the rediscovery of the historical significance and architectural quality of Jerichow collegiate foundation. Ferdinand von Quast, one of Prussia’s first conservationists, was in charge of the refurbishments in the 19th century.
The demesne existed until 1945 and then continued to operate as a state-owned farm in the GDR – communist East Germany. The historical upheavals and changes over the centuries are reflected in the many visible alterations to the exteriors of the buildings surrounding the farmyard. Windows were moved, an extra storey was added, different bricks were used. Today, all these buildings are again being managed and maintained to a single standard. In addition to preserving the complex as a historic monument, the main intended use is as an educational institution serving the general public while also promoting the fields of art, culture, religion and research.
Foto: © Stiftung Kloster Jerichow