07.16.2018

Five Beautiful European Monasteries

Not (just) to pray, but to idle, reflect and immerse yourself in beauty

  • Five Beautiful European Monasteries
  • Five Beautiful European Monasteries
  • Five Beautiful European Monasteries
  • Five Beautiful European Monasteries
  • Five Beautiful European Monasteries

From the 5th century AD, when the order of Saint Benedict was founded, to today, monasteries have preserved a unique feature that goes beyond every religious tradition: they are still a place where to take refuge, whether to get away from raids and poverty, as it happened in the Middle Ages, or to put a little distance between ourselves and our daily routine, as it often happens today. 
 
Monasteries are almost inevitably secluded and out of time, and their days are punctuated by simple chores and tolling bells. Home to pilgrims, travelers and faithful for centuries, they retain a special energy magnified by the beauty of their ancient architecture and manuscripts. Europe is literally scattered with such places, and some of them can be extraordinary day-trip or holiday destinations. Here are five monasteries that you most likely do not know yet.
 
Reichenau Island Monastery (Germany)
Reichenau is an island on Lake Constance, at the foot of the Alps. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island houses a Benedictine monastery dating back to the 8thcentury with three churches mixing Carolingian, Ottoman and German architecture from the Salian dynasty, which reigned over the Holy Roman Empire between 1024 and 1125. Its peculiarity lies in the huge mural paintings, particularly those inside St. George’s church, which are very well-preserved. 
 
Monastery of the Holy Cross, Fonte Avellana (Italy)
In the 21stcanto of Dante’s Paradise from the Divine Comedy, Pier Damiani speaks of a hermitage at the foot of Monte Catria. This place was already a point of reference in the 14thcentury: the first monks had settled here, in this valley on the border between Marche and Umbria, in the 10thcentury, giving birth to what would become one of the most important Camaldolese monastic complexes in Italy. Hospitality and dialogue are the values ​​that have always been carried forward ever since then, with a calendar of events that covers the whole year and the opportunity of retiring for a few days to enjoy the silnce, nature, the woods and the sky.
 
Ostrog Monastery (Montenegro)
Set against the rocky mountains of Montenegro, in the Bjelopavlići valley and not far from Podgorica, the Ostrog Monastery is home to wild birds and strong winds. Founded in 1671, it is composed of two structures on an upper and lower level, connected by a long and winding staircase. The monks still celebrate Orthodox rites and sacraments and are happy to share the long history of this place and of the miracles that supposedly happened on its grounds with the visitors.
 
Saint Gall Abbey (Switzerland)
The first stones of this great Benedictine monastic complex date back to the 8th century, as well as some of the oldest manuscripts kept here. The library is its main asset, both for the Baroque structure and for the huge quantity of manuscripts dating back to the last twelve centuries, including the first architectural project on parchment. Architecture is the second focusbecause it features all the architectural styles from Charlemagne onwards, making this place one of the most vibrant cultural centers in Europe.

Hermitage of Santa Caterina dal Sasso (Italy)
Coming from the lake, the first thing you’ll see is the big bell tower, and then the beautiful arcade that runs along the lake. In Leggiuno, on Lake Maggiore, this hermitage has two convent structures, the oldest one dating back to the 13th century, and a church with an original structure, the result of the fusion of three different chapels over time. The frescoes, focusing on everyday life scenes and stories full of mysticism, have preserved their bright colors. When the winter fog rises from the lake, this place is an otherworldly vision.
 

Author : The Slowear Journal

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Monasteries  | peace  | quiet  | spirituality  | relaxation  |

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