Sunday, 13 August 2017

Alvastra Abbey Ruins


Alvastra Abbey was a Cistercian monastery located at Alvastra in Östergötland, Sweden. It was founded in the first half of the 12th century by a donation of land to the Cistercian Order from King Sverker I of Sweden (king of Sweden ~ 1132-1156) .

From Clairvaux in France, the monks brought modern methods of administration, technology and architecture. The district around Alvastra played an important role in the development of the Swedish Kingdom during the Middle Ages.

The church was the heart of the vast monastery establishment. The building material is limestone from Omberg, and the architecture is simple, in accordance with the order's decree against extravagancies. French masters, with the assistance of people from nearby, erected the structure.

Alvastra was Sweden's largest monastery in its heyday, and it flourished for nearly 400 years. But with the Protestant reformation in the 1500s it was dissolved, and the Crown retracted the land. The construction materials were used in the making of Vadstena Castle (we’ll get there in a future post) and Per Brahe's buildings along Lake Vättern (you’ve already seen the ruin of one of those - Brahehus).

The ruins were excavated and restored in several phases in the 1900s.













Linking to Shadow Shot Sunday 2

Shadow Shot Sunday 2


  1. Goodness, all this was underground and needed to be dug up? It is just wonderful! The beautiful archway path,and the shadows it makes, and the gardens and walkways. This was an extensive place. It looks so lovely and peaceful. Too bad it fell into ruin! Your pictures are great!

    1. Ginny, I suppose parts of the ruin were always visible, but that they needed to excavate to get the "full picture". And the remaining walls repaired enough to make it safe for people to walk around there.

  2. This is a very beautiful place.
    Thanks for sharing it with all of us.
    Have a Happy Week ahead!
    Peace :)

  3. This very much reminds me of the story of Fountains Abbey; it was also founded by Cistercian monks, around the same time, and also was active for over 400 years until Henry VIII did what he did.
    The third picture from the bottom up is my favourite of this lot. The whole place looks like one where I could easily spend several hours.

    1. Meike, it was lovely to stroll around there on a day like this - blue skies and yet not too hot.

  4. I enjoy your blog day by day, though I did not write any comments for a long time ...
    I really love the friendly way you take me by the hand and show us all the fine places in your life and your neighbourhood, your town - and now your country.
    And the pictures too, thank you so very much!
    With your work, I do not only learn about my 'neighbour-country' to the north across the baltic sea - you even help to see my own surroundings in a different angle of perspective, that's really fascinating.
    Good luck to you and keep on blogging, please!

    1. Thanks Mo, and good to "see" you again. I'm afraid I had missed the fact that you had moved both yourself and your blog. (I have now updated the link on my bloglist.)

  5. I just love the the grassy roof lines and these photos are so beautiful.. the archways are perfect

  6. The size and importance of the Abbey must have been immense in its day and that led me to think about 'extravagance' in that context. What they were really saying was that they didn't approve of too much ornamentation. One might argue that monks could have lived a very simple life without all those buildings and without all that power both of which could, therefore, be defined as extravagances. Having said that I'm very glad that they did because we are left with all these wonderful reminders of the past. Like others who have commented the ante-penultimate picture of the arches just makes me want to be there and admire it.

    1. Yes, I think you're probably right, because at the same time as they wanted to keep things "simple", as I quoted from somewhere in the text above, they also wanted to (and did) introduce "modern methods of administration, technology and architecture".


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