Saturday, 6 April 2013

Kloster Eldena - Romantik Ruins

The ruins of Eldena Monastery lie a couple of kilometres East of Greifswald. They are famous for inspiring local artist Caspar David Friedrich to go all Gothik. As CDF is my favourite German Romantic painter, a visit to them was a must.

Kloster Eldena have lain in ruins for centuries. Danish Cistercian monks operated lucrative salt-pans in Griefswald Bay here, incidentally causing the growth of the town of Griefswald, which was the monastery's trading post, until the dissolution of the Monasteries in 1535. After being badly damaged during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), followed by decades of dereliction under the Swedish occupation (1648-1815) when stones from the monastery were quarried to build Greifswald's fortifications, it was an overgrown ruin when Caspar David Friedrich began sketching it and including it in his oil paintings of the nineteenth century. Friedrich's images caused a renewed interest in renovating the abbey from 1828 onwards, and Peter Joseph Lenné landscaped the grounds around it into a public park that you can visit to this day.

In keeping with the Gothic feel of the ruins, I am presenting my photos of Kloster Eldena in delicious black and white!

By the way, this is one of Caspar David Friedrich's takes on the ruins, 'Klosterruine Eldena', which you can see in the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin:

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