• Kloster Neuzelle,

        Picture: TMB-Fotoarchiv/Steffen Lehmann Kloster Neuzelle, Picture: TMB-Fotoarchiv/Steffen Lehmann
    Neuzelle Abbey – Close to Heaven

    Why the Neuzelle monastery is also called "the Vatican of Brandenburg" is immediately apparent when you visit the site and discover its 750-year history.

    Why the Neuzelle monastery is also called "the Vatican of Brandenburg" is immediately apparent when you visit the site and discover its 750-year history.
    Ort: Neuzelle

Neuzelle Abbey- close to heaven The Seenland Oder-Spree without barriers

26. August 2017 of Verena Baumert

I had already heard a lot about Neuzelle Abbey. Yet for some reason, I had always put off visiting. My curiosity grew, though, when I read in the media that Cistercian monks from Heiligenkreuz Abbey in Austria were moving back in there. 200 years after the closure of the abbey in 1817, monastic life was returning to Neuzelle. I found that so exciting that I immediately started planning my trip.

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Blick auf das Kloster Neuzelle Blick auf das Kloster Neuzelle, Picture: TMB-Fotoarchiv/Sebastian Höhn

Arriving at Neuzelle Abbey

I decided to go by car, packed my walking aids and set off. I drove east on the A12, left the motorway at the Müllrose exit and followed the brown signs to “Kloster Neuzelle”. I enjoyed driving through the Brandenburg countryside on roads lined with shady trees, past dense deciduous and pine forests, green meadows and small villages. From a distance, I could already see the more than 70-metre high tower of the abbey church. 

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Kloster Neuzelle Kloster Neuzelle, Picture: TV Seenland Oder-Spree/Florian Läufer

Brandenburg or Bavaria?

From the car park, it was only about 100 metres to the abbey´s portal. What a magnificent baroque building opened up in front of me! Was I in Brandenburg or Bavaria? This thoroughly atypical sacral building exceeded my expectations. It stood there majestically before me. The spacious, open abbey courtyard was the perfect place to linger. 

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Stiftskirche Kloster Neuzelle Stiftskirche Kloster Neuzelle, Picture: TV Seenland Oder-Spree/Florian Läufer

Baroque Splendour

My eyes first had to get used to the church´s opulent and rich interior. Thoroughly overwhelmed by such baroque splendour, I sat down on a church pew, let my eyes wander and enjoyed the silence. Suddenly, in the background, I heard the soft sound of the monks´ choral prayers. It was a moment I will never forget. There were more surprises to come on my tour of the abbey. I was fascinated by the gothic cloisters, which compared to the church are plain and simple. In the past, only the monks were allowed to enter the cloisters. Nowadays they are home to a museum.

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Museum Himmlisches Theater Klosterareal Neuzelle Museum Himmlisches Theater Klosterareal Neuzelle, Picture: TMB-Fotoarchiv/Steffen Lehmann

Museum of the "Heavenly Theatre"

Impressed by the various building styles and eventful history of the abbey, I headed for my next stop – the “Museum of the Heavenly Theatre”. Here there are baroque paintings of the Neuzelle Passion depiction of the Holy Tomb on display. A new museum was built under the vineyards especially for them. I was curious, but did not know what to expect. The Neuzelle Abbey courtyard is spacious and I made my way with my walking aids over the historic cobblestones, which was not so easy. I should have taken the path specially paved for wheelchairs.

The museum is prepared for visitors in wheelchairs. I found myself standing in front of a treasure – a massive theatre backdrop of painted wooden panels and canvases, which show scenes from the Passion on two stage sets. They date back to 1751, so are 267 years old and simply amazing.

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Theaterkulisse im Himmlischen Theater im Kloster Neuzelle Theaterkulisse im Himmlischen Theater im Kloster Neuzelle, Picture: TMB-Fotoarchiv/Steffen Lehmann

Discovering the protestant church on the courtyard

I had by no means seen everything in the abbey. There was still the small protestant Church of the Holy Cross, which has been restored in recent years. Its colour scheme distinguishes it from the other abbey buildings and perhaps that is why it is so interesting. The two towers stretch up into the sky, while the large dome dominates the building and reminds me somehow of Rome. The baroque-style interior was yet another surprise.

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Pfarrkirche zum Heiligen Kreuz Neuzelle Pfarrkirche zum Heiligen Kreuz Neuzelle, Picture: TMB-Fotoarchiv/Steffen Lehmann

Wonderful abbey garden

I ended an eventful day with a walk through the wonderful baroque abbey garden. Visitors with limited mobility can only access the garden through the south entrance. Getting there over the historic cobblestones was rather difficult for me. However, the garden compensated me for my efforts.

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Orangerie im Klostergarten Neuzelle Orangerie im Klostergarten Neuzelle , Picture: TMB-Fotoarchiv/Steffen Lehmann

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