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Cistercian Sites

Below is an illustrated index of the 17 Cistercian sites profiled on Sacred Destinations so far. For photo credits, please see corresponding articles.

All Cistercian Sites (View on Map)

  • Bonmont Abbey
    Canton Vaud, Switzerland
    Founded in the 12th century, the Abbaye de Bonmont is a simple Cistercian abbey located amidst beautiful scenery. Today it primarily hosts concerts of Gregorian chant.
  • Cîteaux Abbey
    Saint-Nicolas-les-Cîteaux, France
    Founded in 1098, the Abbaye de Cîteaux is a historically important abbey located south of Dijon, France. It is the mother house of the Cistercian monastic order, which is named for the abbey.
  • Alcobaça Monastery
    Central Portugal, Portugal
    This spectacular Cistercian monastery (founded 1153) features fine Manueline architecture and a giant kitchen with a stream running through it.
  • Byland Abbey
    Yorkshire, England
    Byland Abbey is one of the three great Cistercian monasteries of North Yorkshire, with Fountains and Rievaulx. Although the community had a rocky start, its abbey church was once the largest in England.
  • Casamari Abbey
    Lazio, Italy
    This active Cistercian monastery southeast of Rome dates from the 13th century. Its austere church has delicate columns, vaulted ceilings, small stained-glass windows and a lovely cloister.
  • Fontenay Abbey
    Burgundy, France
    Nestled in a wooded valley in Burgundy, the Abbey of Fontenay is a well-restored 12th-century Cistercian monastery founded by St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
  • Fontfroide Abbey
    Languedoc-Roussillon, France
    Nestled in a green valley not far from Narbonne, the 12th-century Cisterican Abbey of Fontfroide is one of the most complete abbey complexes remaining today.
  • Fossanova Abbey
    Lazio, Italy
    Begun in 1163, Fossanova is considered a magnificent example of Cistercian architecture, reflecting that of Clairvaux.
  • Fountains Abbey
    Yorkshire, England
    Founded by Cistercian monks in 1132, this is the largest monastic ruin in Britain. It offers many interesting things to see in a beautiful natural setting.
  • Hailes Abbey
    Hailes, England
    This ruined Cistercian monastery in Gloucestershire was once a major medieval pilgrimage destination. Founded by the brother of King Henry III in 1246, it was dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1539.
  • Mellifont Abbey
    County Louth, Ireland
    This Cistercian abbey is mostly in ruins, but there is a fine lavabo that is mostly intact, along with the chapter house and a section of the cloister. Nearby are ruins of a gateway and a small church.
  • Melrose Abbey
    Borders, Scotland
    This Cistercian abbey south of Edinburgh was founded in 1136 and is now in picturesque ruins. It said to enshrine the heart of Robert the Bruce.
  • Rievaulx Abbey
    Yorkshire, England
    Founded by St. Bernard of Clairvaux in 1132, Rievaulx Abbey now lies in picturesque ruins in a North Yorkshire valley.
  • San Galgano Abbey
    Tuscany, Italy
    Picturesquely located in the rural fields of Tuscany near Siena, this Cistercian abbey was built in the 13th century and now stands in graceful ruins.
  • Senanque Abbey
    Provence, France
    Founded in 1148, the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque is a lovely Cistercian abbey and one of the best places to see Provence's famed lavender fields.
  • Tintern Abbey
    The second-oldest Cistercian monastery in Britain, Tintern Abbey stands in picturesque ruins on the southeastern border of Wales.
  • Valmagne Abbey
    Languedoc-Roussillon, France
    Valmagne Abbey is a beautiful Cistercian abbey that was transformed into a wine cellar after the French Revolution. Its magnificent Gothic church has been called the "Cathedral of the Vineyards."