N.B.: This was originally published in 2012, but the post weren’t imported from Tumblr to WordPress like it was supposed to.
Last Saturday I went to see Øm Abbey with my father. We both love history. It was amazing to see this abbey even though it was mostly ruins. The museum which was attached to the ruins was very enlightening. It told the story of how the Abbey was built and how the daily life was. In the following there is a brief survey of important events in the Abbey history. The following is from a Danish encyclopaedia with a little help from the English Wikipedia article about Øm Abbey.
The Abbey was founded in 1172 by Cistercian monks from Vitskøl Abbey in northern Jutland. The monks settled on a land near the town of Rye between the lakes; Moss Lake and Guden Lake surrounded by water and marsh. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was called: “Cara Insula” (“dear Island”). The Øm Abbey Chronicle was written by local monks from 1206 to 1267 when it abruptly ends. It outlines events at the abbey during the tumultuous years of the early 13th century.
Bishop Svend of Aarhus transferred many of his own holdings to Øm Abbey and then retired there to live out his days among the monks. Abbot Michael, the twelfth abbot, was buried in the chapter room in the unfinished church. Bishop Peder Elafssen of Aarhus was buried in the church in 1246, years before it was completed.
At its height in the late 15th century, the abbey consisted of the church, hospital and hospital cemetery, library, chapter house, refectory, dormitory, cloister and cloister garden, and a guest house. The abbey measured approximately 120 meters by 80 meters. It was one of Denmark’s richest houses with land holdings, mills, and a well-recognized hospital. Cistercians were excellent farmers and over time the abbey came into possession of many properties which brought additional income and prestige.
One of the important improvement the monks made to the site was to build three canals. Brother Martin discovered that Moss Lake was about a cubit higher than Lake Guden. The monks used that difference to build two canals near the abbey, one to bring fresh water to the abbey and a second to serve as a primitive sewerage system. The third canal built farther away from the abbey connected the two lakes and was used to transport goods through the lake region.
The nature surrounding the Abbey was just beautiful. Well, it helped that the weather was nice. Here are some pictures from the trip.
There was a little garden filled with herbs and plants the monks used in their food, curing illness and things like that. There were some poisonous plants in the garden.