European Route of Cistercian abbeys
Certified "Cultural Route of the Council of Europe" in 2010
Nine centuries ago, Robert de Molesme founded the "New Monastery" of Cîteaux, following the principles of the Rule of Saint Benedict: pray far from the world and live off the work of one's hands. From its origins in Burgundy in 1098, the Cistercian Order grew rapidly throughout the European continent, bringing together some 750 abbeys and 1,000 monasteries, with communities of both monks and nuns.
The Cistercian Order represents a rich legacy that is still present today at the heart of the Roman Church and European states. The "white monks" were and still are exemplary constructors, participating in the development of rural areas by controlling the most advanced hydraulic and agricultural techniques - through their barns, cellars, mills and foundries - and have contributed to the development of art, knowledge and understanding in Europe since the Middle Ages.
The traveller is invited to understand and give meaning to the Cistercian heritage that our age has inherited, through a discovery journey passing through rural tourism sites, by participating in educational and cultural events, and by using new digital tools adapted to cultural heritage conservation and promotion.
Council of Europe values
The “European Charter of Cistercian Abbeys and Sites” Association and its members work to preserve the tangible and intangible Cistercian heritage. Their actions contribute to the preservation of the historical heritage, both buildings and the surrounding environment, regardless of their condition. They also aim at promoting the role of the Cistercians in European history, especially in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, to a wider audience. They seek to highlight the unique identity of Cistercian monasticism, in its intellectual and spiritual dimensions, technical ingenuity and remarkable organisational, building and development skills.