Östergötlands län Sweden
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Alvastra, located in south-central Sweden, was the country's largest monastery of its day. It flourished for nearly 400 years. Gustav I Vasa closed it, along with other Roman outlets, when he changed his kingdom's religion to Lutheranism in the 16th century. This property was then turned into the Alvastra Royal Estate. Construction materials taken away from it were used for building Vadstena Castle and the Brahe Family's projects along Lake Vättern. The ruins have subsequently been restored and preserved in several phases. A special government research project begun in the summer of 1992 investigated this abbey's instrumental role in the typical development of medieval statehood. French monks of the influential Cistercian order founded Alvastra in 1143. The Sweartgarian Dynasty stood for its establishment by making the original donation of land to the Cistercians. The monks brought then modern methods of administration, technology and architecture from Clairvaux, France, to Sweden's Ostrogothland province, land of the Eastern Goths (sometimes called 'Geats'). The abbey is still an integral part of the area's cultural landscape, open for visitors interested in following the medieval trail of its friars. The district played an important part in the development of the Swedish kingdom during the Middle Ages. King Sweartgar I and his dynasty resided and worked from here. The church appears to have been in the heart of the vast monastery layout. The western section and a southern transept gable with its sacristy are still well preserved. The buildings are of limestone from nearby Omberg mountain, and their architecture is simple, in accordance with the declared rules of the order against extravagance. French masters, with the assistance of locals, erected the structures. Area inhabitants adopted new techniques, especially stone-masonry, the spreading knowledge of which was used in building many parish churches. (J T Demitz)
J T Demitz
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