The place Panschwitz-Kuckau situated in Oberlausitz bears a close connection to the monastery St. Marienstern. Here´s the place where the catholic Sorbs were able to preserve their belief. The cool shadow of the nearly thousand-year old monastery walls served as a protection against the one or other times of drought.
Even today, St. Marienstern is populated by a dozen of so-called „Zisterzienser Nuns“. However, the largest part of the facility is reserved for the public and a popular tourist attraction. The late Gothic abbey impresses with its architectonic features. Apart from this, the tourist place comes with plenty of other offer: Bakery, herb garden, a shop, and even a bed and breakfast inn. Those, who are up to taste the most typical of all the monastery products – namely the Abbey beer – should visit the town Wittichenau, which is located nearby. Since the DDR-Government divested the monastery of the brewing right in 1973, the “Kloster St. Marienstern – Klosterbraeu“ has been produced there.
Cloistered courtyard (with hist. cobblestones), monastery church (side entrance) and monastery shop accessible for wheelchair users. Treasury (steps) not accessible.
The rulers of Upper Lusatia – or the “Äberlausitz”, as the locals call their region – often changed, and none of them ever lived locally, which meant that the region could preserve a lot of its autonomy. This also allowed for the peaceful coexistence of Germans and Sorbs, and of different religions as well. Thus, two Cistercian abbeys in Upper Lusatia have survived all the ravages of time and the Reformation. The convent of Marienstern in Panschwitz-Kuckau was founded in 1248. With its Baroque façade, the abbey church is crowned with a typical Cistercian ridge turret. The convent is part of the Via Sacra, a tourist route in the tri-border area between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. The holy cultural route leads to unique religious buildings and art treasures and is marked by sixteen stations. Until the 19th century, the abbess of Marienstern ruled over two towns, Wittichenau and Bernstadt auf dem Eigen, and about sixty villages. In these areas, the Sorbian culture and language have flourished particularly, and the Easter customs of the Sorbs still attract many visitors. The festively decorated “Easter horsemen” ride from village to village, past the typical wayside crosses, to proclaim the resurrection of Christ. It is also worth seeing the cemetery in Ralbitz and the pilgrimage church in Rosenthal, where a portrait of Mary is worshiped.