Monasteries played a crucial role in both the spiritual and economic development of NW Europe. But declining religious observance means that many of these historic sites have become abandoned during the past 100 years. The Converting Sacred Spaces project aims to find new functions for these sites and integrate them into the development plans of the cities and regions in which they are located. The key objective of the project, which involves 12 partners from five member states, is to save or improve important religious heritage sites by restoring or renewing them and providing new functions. The 9.3M euro project will also help preserve the former monasteries as oases of tranquility for contemplation, rest and relaxation. Part of the project, which is being led by Belgium’s City of Louvain, will involve creating an interpretive path on each site to explain the importance that abbeys have played in history of land management. The project will also organise a transnational, travelling exhibition and a manual showing examples of innovative restoration developed during the project that will be distributed throughout the Cistercian Order’s network of 150 abbeys across Europe.
- Saving or improving important religious heritage by restoring or renewing it and giving it a new functions
- Preserving the religious landscapes as oasis of tranquillity and places where people can deal with stress, contemplate, rest and relax
- Integrating an interpretive path on each site to explain the importance that abbeys have played in history of land management
- Organising a Transnational Travelling exhibition where all partners work and invest together on a basis of task forces