Two weeks ago we went on one of our infamous uni field trips – infamous because our Professor tends to be slightly chaotic.
The theme was monasteries, matching the theme of our seminar this semester. Well, you’d probably expect something like the scenery of The Name Of The Rose, but I fear I must disappoint you (maybe I’ll find another monastery for you to drool over sometime). While some monasteries in Hesse were lucky the 30-years war wasn’t exactly gentle with them to begin with. And the two monasteries we visited that Saturday were particularly unlucky…
Flechtdorf used to belong to the Ordo Sancti Benedicti aka. the Black Monks (which sounds pretty badass if you ask me) and was built during the 12th century. It used to be much larger than what one can see today but at some point the monastic parts were demolished and only the outbuildings and church remained.
There were several of these small wooden doors. They probably led to tool storage but I like to think they are entrances to secret passageways or faerie trods.
The current camera situation wouldn’t let me take better pictures of what remained of the painted ceiling and the window. But I really liked the eight-pointed star, apparently something they put in during the Renaissance (don’t quote me on this, it was a fun fact a friend told me when we went and explored the
dungeons cellar – or what was left of it).
One of the small wooden doors again. Secret passageways, I tell you.Same order, different monastery, far less remaining structure (read: basically none) but a far more magnificent view, Hasungen monastery was founded during the 11th century.
This church is not part of the monastery, it’s the church the village uses today. It’s halfway up the hill where the monastery used to be but from its looks it could just as well be somewhere in the Deep South bayous. It was so light and clean and you could hear the sheep and goats outside, I really liked it.
Hasungen even has a tiny museum with what’s left of the arches and some pottery – like this little (probably) devil figurine that actually served as the spout of some sort of jug.
The monastery was built by the grave of an apparently very charismatic but also much-despised hermit – he had violently been thrown out of several places after two or three years before he came here – who lived in a shack by the chapel that used to be on this hill. Legend has it than whenever his fangirls got too close to him during service he would dash out of the chapel door and jump into the pond on the hill to calm his nerves (and to not give in to temptation). Well, even a holy man might have needs, apparently (I imagine medieval-style panties being thrown towards the pulpit and a shaggy guy running out of the door with flailing arms plunging into the pont head-on. It’s kind of slapsticky.).
Well, now here you can see what’s left. No, not the pedestal thingy with the plaque, that’s from the 19th century. The pile of rubble beside it and the bit of wall to the left that you can barely see. That’s what’s left.
They did electromagnetic surveys and discovered the rough outlines of the structure but there hasn’t been a real dig yet. There used to be much more rubble but in a fit of trying to get things done it was all shoved down the hill after WWII and has since been reclaimed by nature (and people who built a stage for folk plays with some of it).
However, the view is truly magnificent.
Monastery webpages (German):