Cisterscapes connecting Europe –
We are cultural heritage!

Cisterscapes connecting Europe awarded the European Heritage Label

The application of 17 Cistercian monastery landscapes from five European countries, Cisterscapes connecting Europe, coordinated by the district of Bamberg, was awarded the European Heritage Label in Antwerp, Belgium, on April 17, 2024.

“This is a great day for all of us. We are now part of another active European family! The Cultural Heritage Label is an obligation for us to continue our full commitment to European unity!” This was confirmed by Bamberg District Administrator Johann Kalb, initiator of the Cisterscapes connecting Europe project, on Wednesday evening at the award ceremony by EU Commissioner Iliana Ivanova in the Elisabeth Center Antwerp.

With the first cultural heritage seal for a project initiated in Bavaria, the district of Bamberg is making history with its Ebrach Monastery and 16 other partners from Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. With this award, the European Commission confirms the outstanding role of the Cistercians for European integration.

Read more about this in our press release.
There you will also find the link to the digital press kit.

Cultural landscape as European heritage

The Cistercian Way, newly opened in May 2022, is a 6,400 km long cultural hiking trail that leads through six European countries. The opening of sections of the routes in the partner locations (see dates) invite you to discover and hike. The trail connects the 17 monastery landscapes of the Cisterscapes network and touches numerous other attractive sights along the way. It leads through particularly unspoiled landscapes that offer culinary specialties and architectural treasures. The route is oriented towards Cîteaux in Burgundy, the cradle of the order, where all the abbots met for the annual general chapter.

Founded in 2019, the Cisterscapes network makes the cross-border cultural heritage of Cistercian landscapes visible. A total of 17 partners from five European countries, including a number of active convents, belong to the network. Coordinated by the district of Bamberg as part of the Ebrach Monastery Landscape, the network is currently applying for the European Heritage Label. All the monasteries in the network come from the filiation line of the Morimond Primary Abbey, one of the most active monasteries in the expansion of the Order in Central and Eastern Europe.

European network

Networking and regular exchanges were the Cistercian monks’ recipe for success. They were active Europeans and left a lasting mark on our cultural landscapes. Following in the footsteps of the white monks, the Cistercian Way once again connects the people and landscapes of our project – over a distance of more than 6,400 km. The basic European principle of unity in diversity, supported by common values, is inherent in Cisterscapes – Cistercian landscapes connecting Europe.

I am therefore particularly looking forward to our European cultural hiking trail, which will allow you to experience the interconnectedness of our charming landscapes from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia via Germany and Austria to Burgundy in France with all your senses.

Johann Kalb
District Administrator District of Bamberg

On the trail of the Cistercians

The Cistercians shaped the European cultural landscape like no other group of the Middle Ages. Using the highest level of knowledge of their time, they created new types of landscape and spread them throughout Europe. This can still be seen in many places today.

The new route connects Cistercian landscapes from France via Germany to Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovenia. Here you can experience a cross-border network that realized the idea of unity in diversity many centuries before the European Union was founded.

Hiking is the most natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly way of experiencing nature. Let’s explore a fascinating piece of European cultural history on the Cistercian Trail!

Dr. Gerhard Ermischer
President of the Bavarian Hiking Association Vice President of the European Ramblers’ Association

FILM: Landscapes of the Cistercians – Traces in Europe (2023)

Trailer 3:23 min.

Movie 41:30 min.

SHORT FILM: Masters of hydraulic engineering – the Cistercians

Trailer 0:00 min.

Short film 7:14 min.

The Cisterscapes app

Download now!

Some of the elements from the monastery landscapes are also available for viewing as 3D models. You can find the contents of the Altenberg, Ebrach and Waldsassen monastery landscapes on the specially created website (external link):

Doers, supporters, enthusiasts:
the people behind Cisterscapes

The Cistercian Trail runs along existing, already marked hiking trails. Again and again, small detours lead to other elements of the monastery landscape.
The Cistercian Way is not marked with its own marker. Please use the gpx data, hiking maps or the markings on the hiking trails to find your way.

Our sections with all detours, shortcuts and interesting intermediate destinations are also available at (in the tour search, please use the filter “long-distance hiking trails”). We recommend installing the free Outdooractive app.

Overnight stay

Overnight stays are possible in many monasteries. Please contact them directly. Further accommodation options can be found at the regional and local tourist information offices.

The Cistercians as landscape designers

Seclusion from the world and living off one’s own labor were central ideals of the Cistercians.
They reshaped the areas they were given according to their needs. Traces of this work can still be seen today.


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