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The Cistercians came to Henryków near Ząbkowice Śląskie from the abbey in Lubiąż in 1227 – five years after granting Mikołaj, the cathedral cleric from Wrocław, permission to found the monastery, and a year before the consecration of the first monastery church.
Henryków. Cisterian abbey (auth. Kacper Dondziak)
Henryków. Opactwo Cysterskie (auth. Jakub Urbański)
Henryków. Opactwo cysterskie (auth.. Marek i Ewa Wojciechowscy)
The care provided to them by the Silesian dukes in the first period of the existence of the monastery allowed the Cistercian Cistercians to develop quickly, stopped by the destruction of the abbey during the Tatar invasion of 1241. It was during its reconstruction in 1268 that the Book of Establishment of the Monastery of Saint Mary the Virgin in Henryków was created, known as the Book of Henryków – a Latin chronicle containing the oldest written sentence in Polish. At the beginning of the 14th century, the construction of a Gothic monastery church begins. The times of relative peace and development of the abbey, in which the monks were engaged in brewing beer, growing grapes, weaving or other activities, were separated by successive fires and invasions (Hussite wars, the Thirty Years’ War), which painfully affected the Cistercians of Henryków. When the debts of the monastery were paid off in the second half of the 17th century and the office of abbot was held by Henry Kahlert – at that time an extensive complex of baroque monastery buildings was also built, which can be admired to this day; the monastery church receives baroque furnishings, including the main altar with a painting by the famous Silesian painter, Michał Willmann, and the abbot also purchases the Cistercian abbey in the Hungarian town of Zirc, destroyed by the Turks. The creation of the monastery park and the Italian-style garden, designed by the designer Eduard Petzold, known almost all over Europe, determined the appearance of the abbey in 1879 – one of the most beautiful monuments of sacred architecture not only in Lower Silesia.