The heart of the Pelplin monastery is the second-largest brick church in Poland, with 23 altars in its interior, including the highest wooden Baroque altar in Europe, Gothic and Baroque stalls, organs, and a pulpit, as well as other, valuable, furnishings.
Here silence will make us feel the spirit of prayer and work that has for six centuries accompanied the everyday life of friars, following their maxim “Ora et Labora” (Prayer and Work). We will follow the Gray Monks to the former oratory, the cloisters, the garth (inner garden), the refectory (dining room), and other monastery and farming rooms – today forming a tourist infrastructure for the growing numbers of tourists and pilgrims.
The Diocesan Museum houses the largest collection of Gothic sculptures in Pomerania, as well as a collection of fabrics and religious goldsmithery, but the pearl of the collection is the only copy of Gutenberg’s Bible in Poland.
In the old abbey you will discover the realities of monastic life, the Cistercian architecture, the music and dance of old, and the ideal of a monk and a mediaeval knight. You can also feel like a mediaeval scribe and learn how writing developed from a monastic handwriting workshop to modern typesetting in the local “Bernardinum” Diocesan Publishing House. We will delve into the past to see for ourselves how the Pelplin scriptorium operated. Within the abbey’s walls, resting in front of a well-worn desk, you will explore the arcana of writing in blackletter, uncial, antiqua and decorating books with ornaments and Gothic initials.
The historic rooms of the old Cistercian watermill house the Nad Wierzycą Hotel. Its interiors have genuine features of Cistercian wooden architecture. The entire decor relates to the simplicity of the Gray Monks. Only the hum of water falling on the wheel can interrupt the contemplative silence of the place.
Cistercian friars had common meals in the refectory. This 14th-Century room still fills with the mouth-watering scents coming from the adjoining kitchen. The place is still bustling with life, and, most importantly, you can have a nourishing meal there.
Cistercians built their monasteries close to water, and the Pelplin abbey was no different. The monastery complex is gently passed by the Wierzyca – the most enchanting river of Kociewie. Why not reach Pelplin by water, as did King Jan III Sobieski? The water route is not easy, yet persistence will be rewarded by beautiful landscapes and curiosities of nature that can only be seen from a canoe.
Warmth and the smell of a fireplace… the hum of water near the monastery buildings… the Jan III Sobieski island is a charming place located right next to the abbey’s walls, where you can spend a pleasant evening with friends. It is also a friendly place for canoeists who feel like bivouacking. All those who yearn for tales of local history and legends will find special artistic programmes to enrich the merriment of the night.
Every year on the third weekend of September you are invited to the Cistercian Fair. In the former monastery you will learn about the history and culture of the Cistercians of Pelplin in the historical stagings and performances of local legends. We can also have a good time banqueting in the Cistercian refectory, sitting at tables laden with the Old Polish victuals and beverages, and looking for the good spirit of the abbey with the Cathedral angels.
Friars and knights cased in steel, ladies-in-waiting wearing period dresses and dancing around to old music, a volley of cannon fire… The Jacenty Ordowski Mercenary Knights’ Company “Apis” will prepare the artistic setting to add splendour and attraction to a meeting, celebration, conference, banquet, or an evening campfire in the area of the old Cistercian Monastery.
Tourists and pilgrims eagerly visit the nearby Góra Papieska (the Pope’s Hill), where on 6 June 1999 Pope John Paul II celebrated a mass for believers from the Pelplin Diocese. It can be reached by taking a beautiful hiking and cycling route, which features boards presenting Pelplin’s history.
Visitors coming to Pelplin should first head to the old gate building which houses the Diocesan Tourist Information Centre. A Cistercian friar once used to welcome visitors to the monastery in this place – today tourists and pilgrims are greeted with the same joy. You will receive professional assistance at all local attractions, as well as guides, maps, and other information and promotional material.