Built like a castle – solid, impenetrable, distanced. A place wanting to be conquered, or so it seems. It would definitely be worth it, as it houses many treasures. The Minster in Bad Doberan near the Hanseatic city of Rostock is the only place in Europe where you will find such a well-preserved, opulent medieval building.
Doberan Minster was built as a church in a Cistercian abbey in the 13th century. Today it is one of the most prominent high Gothic brick buildings in the Baltic region with an interior that has caused an international sensation. The medieval furnishings, for example the 700 year old choir stalls where the monks go to pray seven times a day, are carved from oak. Visitors entering the choir stalls wouldn't think it to look at them. The high altar, probably the oldest winged altar in art history depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament, is an absolute gem. The scenes are artistically carved and immortalised in wood. The medieval stained-glass windows, created in the abbey's glassworks, resemble delicate screens above the abundance of art treasures.
By contrast, the swan and antlers, which remind worshippers of the abbey's founding legend, look rather profane. According to this myth, when Duke Nikolaus from Rostock was looking for a location to found an abbey, he swore to build it in the place where the first stag of the hunt was killed. The animal was slain where the minster stands today, but the monks thought the site was "too swampy". In this moment, a swan flew out of the thicket and cried "dobr, dobr" (meaning "good, good" in Slavic). It was a sign from God. The abbey was built and named "Doberan", meaning "good place".
Opening hours: May to September: Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm, Sundays and bank holidays 11am to 6pm; March/April/October: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, Sundays and bank holidays, 11am to 5pm; November to February: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm, Sundays and bank holidays, 11am to 4pm
Entry: paid/fees for tours
Nearest train station: Rostock
For information on special tours, including "Children Lead Children" tours, a series of summer concerts and dates, visit:
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