The monastery ruin and its park are a popular excursion destination of the people of Greifswald and the city’s visitors. The monastery ruin is both the start and destination of the themed cycle route “Northern German romantic period route”, which documents the lives of the Northern German romantics of Western Pomerania
The ruins of the monastery complex are in the Greifswald district of Eldena. The former Cistercian monastery was built in 1199. Initially, the monastery was called “Hilda”, after the name of the village at the time. During the Thirty Years’ War the monastery was badly damaged and then increasingly fell into disrepair. The monastery materials were often used to repair and build various buildings, including university buildings.
In around 1800 the remaining parts of the complex were to be removed, but the paintings and drawings by Caspar David Friedrich drew people’s attention to the condition of the ruins, and in 1828 the ruins as they are today were secured. Soon, a park was created on the monastery grounds, which today also features an open-air stage.
Northern German romantic period route – Eldena monastery ruin – Friedrich’s favourite subject
Caspar David Friedrich was born on 5 September 1774 in Greifswald. He is regarded as the most important painter and drawer of the early German Romantic era. His paintings "Winter" and “Abtei im Eichwald” (abbey in Eichwald forest) are based on sketches of the Eldena monastery ruin, which made the monastery world-famous. During his visits to his native region, Caspar David Friedrich discovered more and more elements of the architecture of the monastery ruin. He drew it from all perspectives. He was particularly interested in the high western façade, which is the focus of many of his works. His paintings brought the ruin to the attention of the public. It is the start and destination of the themed cycle route “Northern German romantic period route"