Those wandering through the Pomeranian countryside are captivated by the region’s diverse landscape. However, it’s cultural richness, marked especially in architecture and art heritage of the Cistercian Order. The Grey Monks, as the Cistercians were commonly called, made a significant contribution to the development of Pomeranian culture. It is obvious to every tourist and pilgrim visiting the sites of the Pomeranian Cistercian Trail, starting from Iwięcin and Bukowo near the sea, through Żarnowiec, Oliwa, Pelplin, Byszewo, Koronowo, Chełmno and Toruń. In addition to these former abbeys, one can also visit smaller sites, mainly churches founded by the Cistercians, including Iwięcin, Starzyn, Mechowo, Pogódki, Nowa Cerkiew and Łęgowo; chapels such as in Nowy Dwór near Pelplin, or the remains of former centres, for example in Starzyński Dwór.
One travels along the Cistercian trail by car as well as by cycling, canoeing and hiking trails, not only to admire the pearls of the Gothic architecture (the cathedrals in Oliwa and Pelplin) but also surrender to the spiritual charm and silence and the monastic sites in Żarnowiec and Chełmno. To this day, more than two hundred villages once manager by Cistercian or Cistercian nuns were inventoried on the Pomeranian Cistercian Trail. In the magnificently preserved architectural structures of the churches, the soaring vaults make you raise your eyes high up to admire, as the Cistercians did – looking up at the sky and really touching the ground … their thriftiness in the monastery buildings with the remains of the old smithies, water mills, weirs, granaries or abbey palaces in the gardens.
Among the many works of art. In the furnishings of Pomeranian post-Cistercian churches, particular attention should be paid to the 17th-century works of Herman Hann, including, among others, his paintings done in the spirit of the Council of Trent: Death of Mary Magdalene, The Vision of St Bernard, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary or The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and The Adoration of the Shepherds (in the Cathedral Basilica in Pelplin) and The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary or The Attack of the Prussians on the Monastery in Oliwa and the plaques of founders and benefactors to the convent. The works of this master, associated with the Cistercian Order, can also be seen in other Pomeranian churches – Puck, Jastarnia, Mechowo or Czersk.