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Premonstratensian Monastery of Our Blessed Lady - Magdeburg


The former cloister church was built between 1064 and 1078 as a flat-roofed column basilica. The interior of the nave is characterized by eight arcades and the typical alternation of light and dark sandstone ashlars. The windows of the upper clerestory with their slightly splayed jams are still original. After a fire in 1188 the columns were replaced, and the building was converted into a pillar basilica. The outer appearance of the building is that of a virtually unchanged classical High Romanesque basilica in the Saxon style. The cloister buildings on the north side of the church are a unique example of an almost intact group of monastic buildings from the second half of the 12th century.


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    History

    • Premonstratensian Monastery of Our Blessed Lady - Magdeburg When, in1121, Archbishop Norbert von Xanten founded a monastery in Prémontré and, by the same name, a reform order who were mainly committed to charity, spiritual welfare and missionary work, and lived according to the rules of St Augustine, he changed the collegiate seminary into a Premonstratensian monastery. The monastery was soon to achieve significance. It became the starting point of extensive missionary work towards the east and north. Within only a few decades 16 other monasteries originated from there, including the Premonstratensian monastery in Jerichow, which has become famous in architectural history.
      Following the Reformation and the definite departure of the order in 1632, the "Pädagogium”, the scholar’s school of Magdeburg, opened in the rooms of the monastery.
      Today, the monastery and its church are used as a concert-hall and a museum.
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    Architecture and Furniture

    • Premonstratensian Monastery of Our Blessed Lady - Magdeburg Architecture
      Archbishop Gero’s first monastery was a modest piece of architecture, nothing of which has come down to us. Between 1063 and 1078 a new towerless, cross-shaped, three-aisled basilica was built with a crypt, its nave walls being supported only by columns. After the transition into a Premonstratensian monastery, the church was extended during the 12th century. The west front with its well-fortified appearance was erected, consisting of a square middle tower and two flanking circular towers. The building was finished shortly after the middle of the 12th century, just as the new monastery building, which was started in 1129. After a fire in the city in 1188, the piers were replaced with columns and the so-called "Hochsäulige Kapelle" (high-column chapel) was inserted between the sanctuary and the northern transept. During the late Middle Ages it served as a sacristy. In 1221/22, inspired by the cathedral, an Early Gothic vault was added and has been characteristic of the chapel’s interior appearance since then.
      The building of the monastery was altered for schoolpurposes on various occasions. At the place of the former dormitory the school was built from 1848-1852 and an aula was added to the northern wing. It took centuries after the restoration of the cathedral before the monastery church was renewed, along with which the transept of the monastery church was levelled with the naive and side aisles during 1890/91.


      Decoration
      The most important historical decorations of the monastery buildings are its architectural ornaments. Although they appear modest compared to other church buildings of about the same period, such as St Servatii in Quedlinburg (1070–1129) and St Ulrich’s in Sangerhausen (consecrated in 1135/1149), sources and remains indicate that there was distinguished architectural sculpturing in this place once. The earliest evidence can be found in the three-aisled hall crypt. The groin vault rests on columns with cushion capitals. Some half and quarter columns that can be found along the outside walls show cushion capitals equipped with knots or a rosette, images that were once meant to chase away demons and take up ancient shapes and patterns partly borrowed from the art of the Copts and Teutons.
      The results of the building phase after 1188, such as the plate work of the nave’s frieze and of the impost slab, have their models in upper Italy’s architectural ornaments, whereas the western narthex shows rather modest decoration following the patterns of Hirsau monastery.
      Apart from a few sepulchres and epitaphs, further pieces of the decoration are missing. However, the modern bronze reliefs on the doors by Waldemar Grzimek and Heinrich Apel remain remarkable.

      The monastery "Unser Lieben Frauen” is the starting point of the Romanesque Heritage Route. Its church, used as a concert-hall since 1977, and the cloister are among the most beautiful examples of Romanesque monastery architecture in Germany. Today the monastery accommodates the federal state capital’s museum of art, displaying sculptures from the middle ages and the 20th century as well as contemporary art.
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    Regular guided visits

    • Tuesday and Saturday: 2.30p.m

      History and architecture of the building, regular tours of the special exhibitions, further tours on request

      Contact for guided tours:
      Dr. Uwe Förster

Object

Regierungsstr. 4–6
39104 Magdeburg
Deutschland
0391-56 50 20

Organization:

Regierungsstr. 4–6
39104 Magdeburg
Deutschland
0391-56 50 20
E-mail
Website

Tourist Information:

Ernst-Reuter-Allee 12
39104 Magdeburg
Deutschland
0391 / 83 80 -133
E-mail
Website


Monasteries

Opening Hours:

Tuesday - Saturday           
10a.m -5.p.m
Admission fee:
Adults: € 2,00
Holder of the Magdeburg pass: € 1,00                                   

Group rate for guided tours:
€ 15,00 (20-25 people)
reduced rate:  € 10,00 (school students)


Premonstratensian Monastery of Our Blessed Lady - Magdeburg

Premonstratensian Monastery of Our Blessed Lady - Magdeburg