The Cluniac Sites in Europe
Certified "Cultural Route of the Council of Europe" in 2005
In 909 or 910, William the Pious, Duke of Aquitaine, founded a Benedictine Abbey in Cluny, in the French region of Burgundy. This grand abbey established and coordinated a network of over 1,000 monasteries and other dependencies in Europe and beyond, known as Cluniac sites. Cluny thus became a spiritual capital and a great stimulus for social and cultural development in a medieval society which was searching for deeper meaning.
On account of its extraordinary status, the town of Cluny was built and equipped like the capital cities of our times: its civil and religious buildings are exceptional both in terms of their dimensions and their beauty. Its 187m-long abbatial church -the Maior Ecclesla- with its unprecedented volumes remained the largest in Christianity for many centuries. Throughout the continent, the different Cluniac sites formed a basis for the emergence or the development of hundreds of urban centres in Europe.
The traveller can feel the presence of Cluny's heritage in each and every location. Today, Clunypedia, a website of Cluniac knowledge, enables the public to discover and make more sense of the heritage and history of Cluny in Europe. New technologies make it possible to rediscover this history from a new perspective; to walk round the Cluniac sites is to rediscover one of the central elements of European consciousness.
Council of Europe values
From the 10th to the 18th century, the monks of the Cluniac sites played an important role in building a shared European identity and in promoting cross border interaction and understanding between distant lands. This spirit is alive today, through the preservation of more than 200 Cluniac sites.