• Hochaltar Ältester Flügelaltar der Kunstgeschichte

Architecture

The Doberan Minster is a unique symbiosis of a high gothic cathedral building, based upon French cathedral style and elements of other Hanseatic churches as well as the influence of the building code of the Cistercians.

 

The Cistercian Order was created in 1098 in France as a reformist movement of the Benedictine Order. The ideas for living together are based on the rules of St. Benedict from the 5th century. The Cistercian order was strongly influenced by Bernard of Clairvaux who joined at the beginning of the 12th century.

 

The basic rules of monastic life were humility, poverty and obedience. Poverty as a rule meant that monks were not allowed to hold any personal possessions and also that abbey churches were to be kept simple, without decorations or ornaments.

 

In the early Romanesque style Cistercian churches, some of which are partially maintained, it is easy to recognize the simple, smooth forms, sparse decorations and furnishings.

 

In around 1280, the construction of the second abbey church was begun and its consecration was in 1368. The Cistercian reform demanding simplicity in design and furnishing, was now 200 years old and had little influence on the second church building.

 

During trips to France, the monks of Doberan were inspired by the gothic churches. On their return they implemented these new ideas. In the surrounding Hanseatic cities, churches were also being built in the gothic style.
The regional dukes influenced construction even further. Duke Pribislav of Mecklenburg was a sponsor of the monastery in Doberan and was later buried in the church.

 

The Doberan Minster became the most important burial site for the Dukes of Mecklenburg, who donated money for its continuing development.
The foundations of the Minster are set into sandy soil with integrated wedges of gravel at the meeting point of 3 streams. The groundwater is approximately 1.5 m below ground level and the surrounding area was mostly marshland.

This wasn't an ideal site for building, especially not for the building of a monastery with a church of such dimensions. Therefore the foundations had to be set very deep, to guarantee a safe and stable building.

 

Contrary to other religious orders, the Cistercian monks looked for remote, difficult to access sites to establish their monasteries. By cultivating these remote lands into arable farming they were popular with the dukes.
Without real stone or sandstone readily available, brick was used as the building material. To produce bricks they put a mixture of sand, clay and water into wooden moulds which then dried and were baked in field ovens. It took three years to produce a brick. These bricks, the so-called abbey-style shape, were about 30 cm long, 15 cm wide, 9.5 cm high and weighed around 8 kilograms.

The limestone cement for the brick joints was free of gypsum to prevent expansion and erosion thus guaranteeing a long life span.