The Cistercians large-scale water systems

Małgorzata Milecka



The Cistercian Order having in its rule soil cultivation as one of the main activities, developed in its congregation certain permanent principles regarding a choice of the monastery location and a manner in which it was arranged. Water constituted an inherent attribute of their layouts and it was used for economic and industrial purposes in a very skilful way. Throughout centuries, Cistercian streams and rivers, whose waters were captured in the form of canals, millstreams and ponds, constituted a source of water necessary to irrigate farmlands and gardens, to the proper work of ‘water crafts’ of mills, forges, breweries and fulleries.     The article presents water systems in the territories administered by two abbeys, i.e. Cîteaux and Mogiła in order to show solutions in the range of large scale water management used by Cistercians. Transformations of the landscape which were made in the presented areas and their contemporary results should constitute the basis for further research on the influence of man’s activities on the natural environment, whereas historical systems and water devices should be researched at length and protected as cultural heritage of the white monks.

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