After a first attempt by the Cistercians to found a monastery in Eckenweiher (Mühlacker), they moved to Maulbronn (Mulenbrunnen) in the upper Salzach valley due to a lack of water, pastureland and building materials. Bishop Gunther of Speyer supported the new foundation with land so that Maulbronn could rise to become one of the largest and richest cistercias in southwest Germany. Water, wine and fruit growing characterise the landscape.
The Maulbronn Monastery of the Morimond Filliation was founded in Eckenweiher in 1138 and moved to its present location in the Salzach Valley in 1147. It is part of the network of numerous European Cistercian monasteries through its filliation network. The project partner Klosterlandschaft Bronnbach, for example, is a subsidiary monastery of Maulbronn.
Maulbronn Monastery developed into the most important monastery in south-west Germany and acquired property through donations and purchases. In this way it was able to establish a closed landed estate, from which the Oberamt Maulbronn emerged in 1808. The monastery, which was fortified in the 14th century, shaped the surrounding cultural/monastic landscape with, among other things, farmyards/gardens that still characterise the landscape today, as well as the irrigation system.
When the monastery was dissolved in 1534/1556 by the Protestant Duke Ulrich of Württemberg and converted into a Protestant seminary, the economic structure hardly changed. The continuous use after the abolition, as a Protestant seminary, community centre or town centre, ensured the preservation of the monastery.
Today, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of 1993 is in its entirety a cultural monument of European rank and exceptional universal value, as well as the best-preserved medieval monastery complex north of the Alps. The functional connection between the unique, closed, historically genuine and intact building complex and the monastery landscape makes Maulbronn stand out from the multitude of Cistercian monastery complexes preserved throughout Europe. The preservation of this unity is one of the most important goals of monument conservation.