Abbey Altenberg

The historical cultural landscape of the Cistercian monastery Altenberg, founded in 1133 from the Filiation Morimond, is preserved in the form of a variety of elements and structures, as well as road relations, ditches, hollow paths and small monuments. The Cistercian monastery, donated by the Counts of Berge, was given its old seat, the castle Berge and the surrounding lands (so-called Hereditas mountains). The self-management of the monks and self-sufficiency of the Cistercians presupposed workshops and commercial sites, mills and fish ponds. Water was thus of great importance as a driving force for mills and as a basis for the fishing industry. The monastic water use in the area of the Pfengstbach valley, where four ponds are still used today, is particularly well experienced. The economic network of the Cistercian abbey was a far-reaching one. It consisted of numerous farms and smaller estates, wineries and municipal property. Among the monastic town courtyards in Bonn, Koblenz, Poppelsdorf and Boppard, the Cologne city court was the most important. In the use of agricultural land, in addition to viticulture, the focus was on cereal cultivation. The Grangia, i.e. the monastic farms, had an average size of 150 hectares, which was extraordinarily large for the relationship at that time and showed a block corridor as a typical parcel structure. The Altenberg Cathedral, the former monastery church, served until 1511 as the tomb of the counts and dukes of Berg as well as the dukes of Jülich-Berg. As such, the monastery church was rebuilt in a uniform Gothic style between 1255-1379 and restored after the partial destruction between 1835 and 1847.

Text: Cisterscapes / Photo: Stadt Museum Köln