Many of the monasteries in the heath and the Lüneburg abbeys were built more than 800 years ago, and most have been preserved in their original state. Visitors to the Lüneburger Heide will find churches and abbeys dating back to the gothic, baroque and renaissance ages. Six of these abbeys have been inhabited since the Reformation and can be viewed by appointment.
One of the most remarkable art treasures of Ebstorf Abbey is an original copy of the 13th century Ebstorf map of the world. The circular map, which is 10m² in size, is the oldest and most famous medieval map of the world. Other treasures on display here include a Madonna dating back to the pilgrimages and the 15th century stained glass windows in the cloister.
The most valuable art treasures owned by Lüne Abbey are on display in the textile museum: white embroideries – linen altar and fasting clothes embroidered with linen yarn dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries – tapestries and pew coverings stitched with coloured woollen yarn on linen.
The impressive castle abbey, built in the neoclassical style with a baroque church tower and a superb round chapel, also has some very impressive art treasures on display, including furniture, carpets, paintings, silver and embroideries with freshwater pearls from the Ilmenau River.
This is the oldest of the five historical Lüneklöster abbeys, which during the reformation were turned into protestant convents. The patron saint of the convent and the adjoining town church is John the Baptist.
The former Cistercian convent is a true jewel of the Low German brick gothic and half-timbered style. Notable art treasures and artefacts on display here include the costly tapestries from the 14th and 15th centuries, valuable chests and cupboards and a collection of the oldest eyeglasses in the world.
The Heide churches
The Lüneburger Heide abounds with large town churches and small country chapels. While the churches in Lüneburg and Celle have always profited from the wealth of their respective towns, the builders of the small Heide churches used the materials that were available locally: wood, unhewn boulders and rocks. Just like the landscape they stand in, the tranquil atmosphere and simplicity of the Heide churches is captivating. The newest church in the Lüneburger Heide was built for the EXPO 2000 show: the One-World Church in Schneverdingen.