Nature lover or lover of architecture? Whichever, Chorin Monastery in Schorfheide offers both: a landscape full of lakes and a fascinating relic of a Gothic past.
About an hour's drive from Berlin in the Schorfheide, the former Cistercian monastery at Chorin was founded in the 13th century and retains its impressive brick Gothic architecture. It is one of the most important monuments of early brick Gothic architecture to survive in Brandenburg.
Impressive architecture, the beautiful landscape within the Schorfheide-Chorin biosphere preserve, and the nearby Amtssee all make Chorin Abbey a popular excursion in Brandenburg. No matter what time of year.
The history of Chorin Monastery: from Gothic to Romantic
Built in 1273 as a family monastery by the Margrave of Brandenburg, it was the first brick Gothic building to be built in Brandenburg. The form and ornament are reminiscent of the great cathedral of Cologne, Paris, or Siena.
The monastery played an important role in the history of Brandenburg and was often at the centre of political events. This was for two reasons: (1) the monastery was located on the border with the Slavic territories which had not yet been conquered; and (2) it was the home monastery of House of Ascania, the medieval rulers of Brandenburg.
When the rulers of Brandenburg converted to Protestantism in 1542, the monastery was dissolved and put to various uses including serving as a livestock barn over the ensuring decades, until it finally fell into disrepair.
It was the Romantics who eventually rediscovered the monastery. Architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel was instrumental in ensuring the preservation of the building, even partially rebuilding it. From the middle of the 19th century, the monastery repeatedly attracted painters and other artists from Berlin and Potsdam and a tourist trade began to flourish by the early 20th century.
The monastery remains a popular destination and a place for cultural events to this day.
Culture at the monastery
Join a guided tour at the monastery to learn all about its history. Brick, architecture, the life of the monks are all addressed in the various exhibitions on the monastery grounds.
Since 2010, you can also view contemporary art by local artists in the former infirmary and abbot's house.
The monastery offers plenty of events that always provide a good reason to visit, whether it's New Year's concerts, the great Easter festival with market, exhibitions, theatre, concerts, and tours, the summer music festival, the herbs and ceramic festival, or cosy Sunday afternoons before Christmas. There's always something on for children and adults.
The Chorin Summer Music Festival has become legendary in its own right. For more than fifty years, high-profile musicians, conductors, orchestras, and ensembles have been presented a varied programme of classical music that draws thousands to the monastery grounds. One special feature of this festival are the inexpensive lawn seats that are perfect for a pre-concert picnic.
By rail: Take RE 3 from Berlin towards Stralsund and get off at the historic Chorin train station. Then rent a bicycle (rental: +49 33366-53700 or email@example.com) or walk along the marked path through the Schorfheide-Chorin biosphere reserve (25 minutes) or take bus 912 from Eberswalde station to the monastery (weekdays only)