Net vault in the cloister at Lorch Monastery

Signs of former wealthCloisterand prelature

The cloister and conclave were a part of the Romanesque monastery from the very beginning. In the boom of the late Middle Ages, they were magnificently renovated. They reflect the ebb and flow of the monastery's history. Today, only the north wing of the cloister and the prelature remain.

Cloister with a net vault at Lorch Monastery

Late Gothic architecture in the cloister.

The cloister and its fate

Like all medieval Benedictine monasteries, Lorch was built according to a traditional plan that corresponded to the lives of the monks. The church was the most important building. The cloister was directly connected to the church: an interior courtyard with arcade entries, its four sides having all the rooms that the monks needed for their daily life. In Lorch Monastery, the late Gothic cloister fell victim to the Peasants' War in the 16th century. The east and south wings were not rebuilt.

Choir building from the interior courtyard with the wing of the cloister, Lorch Monastery

The cloister passes under the choir.

An unusual solution

In the 15th century, a much larger new choir was planned and no longer fit in the old floor plan of the conclave. So that the cloister would remain usable, the architect simply raised the choir and expanded it across the west wing. Inside the church, therefore, the late Gothic choir rises up steep steps. It was a solution that the architect of the Großcomburg Monastery had applied back in the Romanesque period! Today, the rest of this cloister wing seems like a passageway under the choir of the monastery church.

The prelature with the monks' dormitory

The fully preserved north wing is hardly identifiable at first glance: The open arches of the Gothic arcade entry form the ground floor of a building. This mighty, extended building has been called the prelature since the 18th century. The dormitory, the monks' communal sleeping quarters, can be found on the upper story. In the late Middle Ages, the room was divided into individual sleeping cells. At the west end of the dormitory, the prelates' room with its Baroque painted wall paneling has been preserved.

Aerial view of Lorch Monastery

The prelature is directly connected to the church.

Refectory with decorated pillars at Lorch Monastery

The monks ate here together.

Dining hall and meeting room

On the ground floor of the prelature, directly next to the cloister, lies the refectory. The monks ate here together. On the walls of this vast room, murals from roughly 1530 have been preserved, including 15 scenes from the Passion of Christ. The abbot and the monks met daily in the neighboring chapter house. This is where the rules of the order were read out and all discussions within the purview of the monastery were held.

Don't miss the many figures in the Staufer mural in the chapter house. Here, Lorch painter Hans Kloss created a colorful overview of the history of the House of Staufen, depicted as a panorama with many stories.

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