Monastic landscapes

The Cistercians as landscape designers

The Cistercian order has left its mark on the landscape since the Middle Ages. From Burgundy, the Cistercians settled all over Europe, building monasteries in the solitude of marshy valleys, cultivating and settling land. Cistercian monastic landscapes have typical characteristics throughout Europe. They are a common European heritage:

  • Sophisticated hydraulic engineering for supplying and disposing of the monastery and for generating energy (wells, kitchens, latrines, breweries, mills)
  • Extensive pond farming to supply fish during the fasting periods
  • Granges, specialized farmsteads with correspondingly large plots of land for agriculture and livestock breeding as the economic basis of the monastery economy
  • Large forests for construction and firewood supply
  • Viticulture for religious purposes, but also for trade
  • Fruit and hop growing
  • City courtyards as marketing locations for the surpluses

The basis of comparability was the foundation of the abbey in the early heyday of the order in the first half of the 12th century, i.e. at the time when the Cistercians were structurally most effective in terms of space due to the principle of self-sufficiency. This was contrasted with the investigation of local diversity in the coinage. This manifests itself in the adaptation of Cistercian ideals to local determinants such as soil, climate and rule. A second period of significant cultural landscape characterization can be found in the modern era and manifests itself in the second heyday of the Cistercians after the Counter-Reformation.

The aspects of diversity and unity in the appearance of the landscape and landscape-shaping elements will be shown through six simultaneous exhibitions, a symposium and educational programs at the six partner locations, as well as made tangible through events and tourist offers. Guided tours, hikes, cycle tours and guided tours are intended to enable visitors to “rediscover” the landscape as a monastic landscape.


Here you can download gpx data and maps of our route sections.

The downloads are continuously updated.

We provide you with the gpx data in 2 variants:

1. (…eL) The main line of a complete section (e.g. Waldsassen – Langheim) as 1 data set. This data set does not include any detours or side routes, nor does it contain any information about the hiking trail used. The pure route. This data can be used for all map programs. “eL” means “one line“.

2. (…multi): The section is broken down into individual sub-segments, i.e. according to the hiking trail used. For example, the Waldsassen-Langheim main line consists of 5 sub-segments. This data set also includes the secondary routes and detours.

Important: Not all map programs can process or display gpx data with several sub-segments or only single segments are imported.

Gpx data for download can also be found under “Cisterscapes Tour Portal”.



GPX multi


North line

Wagrowieczn (PL)-Szczecin (PL)
Bad Doberan (D)-Stettin (PL)
Bad Doberan (D)-Loccum (D)
Loccum (D)-Marienfeld (D)
Marienfeld (D)-Kamp (D)
Kamp (D)-Altenberg (D)
Altenberg (D)-Heisterbach (D)
Heisterbach (D)-Eberbach (D)
Eberbach (D)-Maulbronn (D)
Connecting line North-Central
Pforte (D)-Langheim (D)
Central line
Velehrad (CZ)-Žďár (CZ)
Žďár (CZ)-Plasy (CZ)
Plasy (CZ)-Waldsassen (D)
Waldsassen (D)-Langheim (D)
Langheim (D)-Bamberg (D)
Bamberg (D)-Ebrach (D)
Ebrach (D)-Würzburg (D)
Würzburg (D)-Bronnbach (D)
Bronnbach (D)-Maulbronn (D)
Maulbronn (D)-Freiburg (D)
South line
Kostanjevica na Krki (SI)-Stična (SI)
Stična (SI)-Pure (AU)
Rein (AU)-Heiligenkreuz (AU)
Heiligenkreuz (AU)-Zwettl (AU)
Zwettl (AU)-Vyššı Brod (CZ)
Vyššı Brod (CZ)-Plasy (CZ)

Cisterscapes in the press

Franconian Day

Article on the history of the Cistercian order in the Stromberg-Heuchelberg Nature Park

to the article by Annette Willaredt in the current issue for 2023 “#NATURPARK – The magazine of the nature parks in Baden-Württemberg”. This was published at the CMT vacation trade fair in Stuttgart.

You can download the entire magazine here: _Naturpark__Ausgabe_5.pdf (

And here to order: Brochure service: Stromberg-Heuchelberg Nature Park (

Long-distance hiking trail in the footsteps of the Cistercians

Full article from here!

Cistercian landscape project CISTERSCAPES is the German candidate for the European Heritage Label!

Article by Dr. Thomas Büttner, Bayerischer Landesverein für Heimatpflege e.V.

Franconian Day 02.08.2022

Webecho 09.06.2022

Franconian Day 31.05.2022

Bamberg Guide 23.05.2022