The year 1228 is considered to be the founding date of the monastery in Ihlow. Members of the Cistercian order set up their “Monasterium Sanctae Mariae in Schola Deï“ in a forest eight kilometers south of the settlement of Aurechove.
The dimensions of the church in its „School of God“ are enormous: almost 68 meters long and around 35 meters wide in its transept. At that time the sacred building in the style of the Brick Gothic is the largest church between Bremen and Groningen.
The Cistercian Order, to which the Ihlow Abbey belongs, spread rapidly across Europe with hundreds of monastic foundations in the 12th and 13th centuries. All branches of the new network are networked with each other.
Its members shape the culture, religion and politics of their respective regions and the entire continent.
The Ihlow Abbey and its abbots played a prominent role among the 120 religious settlements on the Dutch-German coast in three centuries as an institution of peace and all-Frisian seal keepers.
In 1529 the Ihlow monastery was dissolved during the Reformation and the church was destroyed. At last, the remaining buildings, which have been used as a stately hunting estate since then, are torn down in the 18th century. A hunting lodge for the East Frisian rulers is being built on the monastery site.
More about the history of the monastery site
In the meantime, the former Ihlow monastery church has been rebuilt as a so-called imagination (2005-2009). Steel and wood recreate the vaulted ensemble of the chancel and transept, man-high brick pillars and evergreen ivy walls the former nave. With the roof turret, the bell tower so typical of Cistercian buildings, the replica reaches a height of almost 45 meters.
Visit the Imagination
Below the replicated vault ensemble of the former monastery church lies the room of the search for clues. There is a new altar and an exhibition on the history of the Cistercian order on the North and Baltic Seas, as well as on the archaeology and history of the Ihlow monastery.
At the foundation level, visitors can experience the historical and spiritual dimensions of the former abbey and today's monastery.
To the search for clues
The current monastery garden at the monastery site was laid out in 1987. However, it was soon forgotten.
In 2001 some members of the monastery association partnered with colleagues from the Hermann-Tempel comprehensive School and founded the group of "monastery garden women" to bring the monastery garden to its full bloom again.
"Writing like a monk" is traditionally offered on the monthly experience Sundays.
Visit the scriptorium
The creation of the avenue of lime trees, the so called “Lindenallee”, is assumed to have taken place around 1612 along with the building of the hunting lodge as “Pürsch-Allee”.
Visit the Lindenallee
The labyrinth was built by the monastery association in 2017 on the monastery site, a former Cistercian monastery complex.
Visit the labyrinth
West of the former cistercian monastery, the East Frisian Count Enno had a hunting lodge built in 1612.