One of southern Germany's largest Cistercian monasteries

Salem Monastery and Palace

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The stove

In the summer refectory, the link between the convent building and the Prelature, there is an unusual piece beneath the rich stucco and next to the wall frescoes: a magnificent tiled stove featuring lively scenes from the Cistercians' day-to-day lives.

Salem Monastery and Palace, the stove; Photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Ortsverwaltung Salem

A stove started the great fire of 1697.

Fire protection a top priority

During the night of 9 March 1697, a stove in the servants' kitchen of the Salem monastery overheated and exploded. This started the fire which almost destroyed the monastery. Understandably, when the monastery complex was rebuilt fire protection was a big issue. All the stoves are sited on stone floors and heated from corridors and anterooms outside of the rooms in which they are located.

Salem Monastery and Palace, painted tile; Photo: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Ortsverwaltung Salem

More than 30 painted tiles distinguish the stove.

Masterpiece by Daniel Meyer

The stove in the Summer Refectory dates back to 1733. It is a piece by Daniel Meyer of Steckborn on the Swiss banks of Lake Constance. Many generations of his family made stoves – as far back as the beginning of the 17the century, the Meyers were practising the craft of stove fitting. The stove, which sits in a painted alcove, has an octagonal structure which – just like a Baroque church roof – is crowned by a dome with a lantern. What make the stove distinctive are the more than 30 painted tiles.

From the life of the Cistercians

The paintings are the work of artist Rudolf Kuhn, who was employed in the Meyer workshop. They depict day-to-day tasks in the monastery. Monks in brown habits are depicted on a building site harvesting grapes, catching fish or in the kitchen. Religion is deeply integrated in day-to-day life: the Mother of God appears to the brothers when they are concerned with harvesting corn in the fields. However, in reality, the priestly monks left this strenuous work to their lay brothers.

Images on the tile depict day-to-day life in the monastery.

Other highlights of Salem Monastery and Palace