This place was a real surprise, a kind of those only local people happen to know and the tourists can easily miss, unless they search for museums. That´s how I got there.
Walkenried is a kind of a large village/ a very little town on the boarder between Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) and Thüringen. I don´t think there is anything else interesting there, but their monastery is a real gem and on the list of UNESCO heritage.
At first you will see just ruins, but they are also really impressive. One can stroll there without any tickets. Actually, there were a few kids climbing the ancient walls when I was visiting there, so I had to wait for them to go to take the picture. Somehow I think the monks would be happy knowing that there is still life, laughter and voices of young people in this special place.
There wasn´t much left from the Gothic church belonging to the monastery, but the size of the remaining walls is really impressive.
From the museum I didn´t expect too much, but once I entered, I was back in the Middle Ages. When you walk there, suddenly the light changes and you can hear the steps and the chant of the monks. (Don´t worry I am not at the edge of a nervous breakdown and I don´t take anything causing such hallucinations, the Gregorian Chants come from discretly placed loudspeakers).
In the hallways and chambers you will see boards with information about the puropose of this particular place, like dormitory, dining room, reading room, hospital etc. Each time they are accompanied by pictures and quotations from the Rule of Saint Benedict, the founder of the Cistercians.
The Gothic Chapel, beautifully renovated and most probably used till today.
Some of those guys passing by... (actually standing there). Why such head covers? Why such enormous sleeves? How did they managed not to fall over their robes???
The stairs lead you to a kind of exhibition about the life of the monks and the history of the monastery. The monastery was built in the 12th century and in the time till Reformation, more than 200 monks used to live here at one time. What was their motivation? Was it their way to get closer to God and make sure they deserved the Paradise? Did they want to escape the medival version of the rat race (whatever it looked like back then)? Was it their wish or of their families? Maybe an act of dispair because of the unfulfilled love?
Hope you can get impression how modern this museum is in the old walls. I took this picture in the moment when the lights went off again. Then some elements get highlighted. It is really impressive, just the camera of my phone failed me a bit at showing this.
I really like this quotation by Saint Bernhard "This is the end of the book but not the end of the search". It was printed on the back door in the chamber of the exhibition. For me it was the end of the visit there, but I knew it was the beginning of my interest in the history of such those times. I am sure, I am not the first one leaving with such impression. I highly recommend this museum to anyone who happens to visit the Southern Lower Saxony or Thüringen. If you don´t like history, Middle Ages and museums, I think this place has the potential to change it for good. The monastery (actualy the museum) has its own web site: www.kloster-walkenried.de You can see some better pictures there:) P.S. This paper under the quotation in the last picture is a reminder that you have to keep social distance of 1,5m. At the museum I was also required to wear a mask. There was no problem with distancing, there were other visitors, but the place is spacious.