Žďár nad Sázavou Monastery

Filiation Morimond-Ebrach

Foundation: 1252

Resolution: 1784

Current purpose: Mostly privately owned cultural center of the region

Žďár monastery was founded in 1252 in the Bohemian-Moravian border area between the Sázava and Svratka rivers on the Libicka trade route. Dozens of ponds and pond chains were created around the monastery and its courtyards, as well as numerous hammer mills for metal processing. The monastery flourished in the 18th century, which is particularly evident in the Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená hora.

The monastery was built during a medieval era on a strategically important border of Bohemia and Moravia as a borderstone between two historical Czech lands among natural borders made by the Sázava and Svratka rivers. The development of the monastery and its surrounding landscape was influenced by nearly 800 years of history and by all important historical events that changed Central Europe and helped to create today´s Europe. It was abolished because of the fire damage and secularization trends of Central Europe at the end of the 18th century.

Technologies, that the Cistercian order was spreading all across Europe translated into the Žďár landscape making the best by their ability to remade landscape by water systems. Monks on our landscape, just like all around Europe, founded many ponds, dams, and other forms of waterwork. Energy gained from the water was used to power up mills but also used to manufacture metal by creating so-called “hamrs”.

Unfortunately, most of the rural elements of the landscape were transformed by collective farming during the communist era in the 20th century. Cistercian influence on the landscape was also in the sphere of architecture, as we can see on the UNESCO heritage site Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora.

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