The first monasteries to be established in Saxony at the end of the 11th and beginning of the 12th centuries were for members of the Benedictine Order. Count Wiprecht of Groitzsch and Kaiser Lothar III were the benefactors and true to the maxime: „Ora et labora“, work and pray, the monks were to assist the settlers with spiritual nourishment during the development of the land. The Benedictines upheld a close relationship with the aristocracy and often selected their novices from noble lines.
With the advancing development of the Ore Mountains foreland came a second wave of monastery foundations, one of these being Grünhain Cistercian monastery. It was built in around 1235 near the Old Salt Road, one of the most important trade routes between Halle and Prague. The Cistercians came under castellan Meinherr II of Meißen in the region and founded cloisters in the towns as well as in agricultural estates.
The Grünhain monastery was to exist for 300 years and acquire an enormous amount of estates and power, before being disbanded in 1536 during the Reformation.
The model-like reconstruction of the monastery is based on a typical Medieval monastery layout. The displayed examples of intricate stone architecture and murals show us that it was also elaborately furnished.
Almost simultaneously, the first Franciscan and Dominican monasteries were founded in the towns from around 1230 onwards. These monasteries took care of the religious welfare of the growing town populations.
The newly created monastery landscape constituted a considerable proportion of economical, cultural and spiritual life.
If you would like to come on a short excursion, we can have a look at Medieval monastery libraries.