Tag Archives: cloister

Le Thoronet Abbey


A few months back I visited Provence, most of the time was spent working but there were also room for some excursions. One of the places we visited was the Cistercian abbey Le Thoronet. If you happen to pass by, make a stop it’s worth it. The Order of Cistercians is a Roman Catholic religious order of enclosed monks. The Cistercian way of life is that of simplicity, manual labour and self-sufficiency. It was founded in 1098 AD as branch within the order of the Benedictines by Robert from Molesmes and 12 other monks. When Bernhard Clairvaux entered the picture in 1112 it started to spread, when he died, 1153, the order had more than 280 convents.

Most medieval abbeys in Sweden were Cistercians; today most of them can be seen as ruins. Among others Alvastra monastery (1143), Nydala monastery (1143), Varnhem monastery (1150), Roma monastery (1164) etc. there was also nunneries such as Vreta monastery (build as a benediction monastery ca 1100 AD and transformed into a Cistercians monastery ca 1160, Gudhem (1175), Sko kloster (monastery) (1220) etc. Today these ruins are beautiful scenic spots – but as place such as Le Thoronet is like walking into a model that translated the ruins into what it most probably look like once.

Le Thoronet Abbey is probably built sometimes between 1147 when the count of Provence; Raymond Béranger II confirms the abbeys property 1157 when the community moves from Florièges to le Thoronet

I’ll let this pictures tell the story  instead of me;


Magnus Reuterdahl

Vreta cloister ruins

About a week ago I was in Östergötland while there I visited the cloister ruins of Vreta kloster.

Vreta kloster

Vreta cloister was founded in the ca 1110 as a Benedictine nunnery by King Inge the younger and his queen Helena. It is the oldest nunnery in Sweden. In 1162 it was converted into a Cistercian nunnery. The ruins and the church give us a chance to revisit the middle ages. Unfortunately the church and the museum were closed when I visited it so there are no indoor pictures from the church or pictures from the museum.

Vreta kloster

A reconstruction of how the area might have looked at its prime.

The cloister was excavated between 1916-1926 and the church was renovated between 1914-1917. Her are some pictures of the cloister ruins and the church.

 Vreta kloster

Convent workroom

Vreta kloster 

The Parlour


The inner garden

Vreta kloster 

The kitchen


The oldest wall with “Opus Spicatum

 Opus Spicatum Vreta Kloster

Close up “Opus Spicatum

On part of the oldest wall one can se traces of a building style called “Opus Spicatum” a way of laying bricks in a pattern often referred to as looking like herringbones. This part of the wall might be as old as the 11th century and is part of a wall surrounding the oldest church at this spot.


Pictures of the cloister church


Vreta kloster

The cloister church has gone through many phases, it has grown and been added on, as there is no plaster on the building one can identify several of these changes.

I recommend a visit; it is a beautiful and interesting place well worth a detour.

Magnus Reuterdahl

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