Around the year 1000, account is given, for the first time, of the custom to cover altars, relics, paintings, even whole chancels with veils. These textiles were called Lenten veils. The Great Zittau Lenten veil (1472) and the Small Zittau Lenten veil (1573) are two rare mementos from those times. The small Lenten veil is the only exemplar of the so-called Arma Christi Type in Germany. Worldwide, only six veils of this type have survived.
The small Lenten veil is displayed in the Kulturhistorisches Museum Franziskanerkloster (Cultural History Museum Franciscan Monastery).
Wheelchair users can access the Franciscan monastery, the Little Lenten Veil and the toilet for wheelchair users. Further areas on the ground floor of the museum can only be explored with escort person (steep ramp with a gradient of 15% and mobile ramps). Toilet for wheelchair users: Door 94 cm, 126x180 cm in front of toilet, 90 cm from side wall.
Guided tours and museum-pedagogical offers on request.
For twenty years in the 15th Century, the Archbishopric of Prague was managed from the Franciscan Monastery in Zittau, because of the Hussite Wars raging in Bohemia. 100 years later, after the Battle of White Mountain, it was the Protestants who fled to Zittau and were given a room for worship in the former monastery. The Franciscans had arrived in Zittau in 1244 and started building the monastery in 1268. In 1543 the monastery was transferred to the town council. The Evangelical-Lutheran congregation has used the monastery church since 1598, and the remaining buildings are now part of Zittau’s municipal museum. Their present condition reflects the turbulent history of the former monastery. The eastern wing contains much from the time of the Franciscans, as well as parts of the cloister. In the old monks’ cells on the upper floor, unique wall paintings from the 15th century were discovered in 2008, representing a fountain of youth, to which the people of all classes are streaming. In the 17th and 18 centuries a unique burial place was developed where the monks had once been buried. With its closed series of crypt houses, the cloister is an impressive example of middle-class Protestant burial culture. At the end of the east wing, in a separate room, hangs the Small Lenten Veil, which dates back to the time of the Reformation and depicts the crucifixion of Christ. It is the only one of its kind in Germany and one of six worldwide. It is one of the stations 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.