The Cluniac Sites in Europe
In 909 or 910, William the Pious, Duke of Aquitaine,
founded a Benedictine Abbey in Cluny, in the French region
Dates and countries
Incorporated into the programme
"The Council of Europe Cultural
Countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom
Cluny started out as a centre
of monastic reform, but gradually
its task turned to regenerating the world
by consecrating churches and changing
the social relations and structure
of their surrounding areas. By the early
12th century, Cluny was at the head
of some 1400 Cluniac establishments
in western Europe: France, Italy,
Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal,
the United Kingdom and Belgium.
This extraordinary expansion was
reflected in the construction at Cluny,
in the 11th and 12th centuries, of the largest abbey church
of all times: the Maior Ecclesia, more than 180 m long!
Varied architecture, a distinctive musical form, sculptures
and paintings all form part of the fabulous heritage
handed down to us by the monks, of which each Cluniac
establishment has a part.
The Federation of Cluniac Sites was founded in 1994
with the threefold objective of forging close links between
sites, enhancing their Cluniac heritage and supporting their
initiatives through action in the fields of education, culture
and tourism. Elected representatives, private owners and
cultural and tourism associations are actively involved in the
pursuit of these objectives, with the help of an international
patronage committee bringing together researchers,
archaeologists and historians.
The Cluniac sites belonging to the federation have now
been organised into transregional and transnational
itineraries. In this way, a new cultural and tourism route
is gradually expanding across Europe, following
the footsteps of the monks of Cluny.
(Photo: Abbey of Cluny, France)