Nydala abbey

João Figueiredo

Värnamo, Sweden

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Artist's Description

This abbey was started to built in the year of 1143 by French Cistercian monks. Curiously, in that same year, the son of a French count was defeating a “Spanish” (Spain didn’t exist at that time) army and conquering independence to Portugal, becoming it’s first king.

The abbey was finished 3 years later and it was one of the first Cistercian monasteries in Sweden, working almost as a closed society since at that time the abbey had a wall and a moat surrounding the estate, and inside there was practically everything to survive like a tiny small town.

Later on the king Gustav Vasa appropriated the abbey in the XVI century generating some fights and plundering between local villagers, church and nobles that didn’t want to accept that an abbey should have another master besides God. I’m sure that the real motives with this small civil war had much more to do with the fact that the abbey was the richest in Sweden, owning more than 250 farms dominating the whole area of the nowadays Småland. About 40 years later and after the king Gustav Vasa had total control of the area, in the year of 1568 the Danish nearly tear it down during the Swedish War of Liberation.

After that the abbey was rebuilt bit bit by over the years until what it is today. Not much is left of the original abbey, but some ruins are still there to be seen. Finally, and after 479 years of waiting, in the 6th June 2008, a group of Cistercian monks came back to the abbey to live there. Today the abbey works as local grave yard and church and monastery for monks.

Nydala, Värnamo – Sweden


Artwork Comments

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