Wągrowiec – Łekno

Photo: P. Wroniecki

Date of foundation: 1143 (order number 178 according to Janauschek)
Date of dissolution: 1835
Filiation / mother monastery: Morimond / Altenberg Monastery
Daughter monastery: Obra Monastery

Łekno Monastery is considered the oldest Cistercian foundation in Poland. It was settled for centuries by monks from Altenberg Monastery and is therefore one of the Cologne monasteries. Originally located on Lake Łekno (Colmar Lake District), it was rebuilt in the 14th/15th century. It was moved to the site of the monastic manor in Wągrowiec in the 18th century. The monks shaped the landscape with mills, agriculture, livestock farming and viticulture.

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The cultural landscape

The founding documents of the Zbylut monastery in Łekno from the Pałuka family (1153) are among the most valuable testimonies to medieval culture in Poland and are the earliest known evidence of the presence of the Cistercians (Polish UNESCO Memory of the World National List 2016).
The monks came to Łekno from Altenberg (Germany) a few years earlier, settled by the lake and slowly adapted the surroundings to their needs. The monastery in Łekno (now an archaeological site), which was active from the 1140s until the 15th century, was destroyed by a building disaster, which encouraged the Cistercians to rebuild their dwelling in a new location, about a dozen kilometers from the old monastery in Wągrowiec, where the monastery and the former abbey have been preserved.
The traces of their presence can still be seen today and are deeply embedded in the local cultural landscape, e.g. in the area of the former dwellings and neighboring villages, the preserved field, road and village facilities, the forest complexes (Dębina Reserve), the lakes (Łekneńskie), fish farming ponds and the mill industry at the river crossing.

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