The Cluniac sites,
a unique heritage ?

During the Middle Age, the monks of Cluny worked out a vision of an ideal Christian society which, little by little, then spread throughout Europe. This gave rise to a concentrated network of highly varied sites. A millenium later, we can find the attitudes, landscapes and built heritage of these Europeans through the traces now left of this new phenomenon.

The European Federation of Cluniac Sites brings together those places which, in Europe, bear witness to the extraordinary spreading out of the abbey of Cluny from the 10th to the 18th century. This diffusion was spiritual ; but it is also architectural, economic, political, social… The monks were responsible for the beginning and then the development of hundreds of towns and cities : from Portugal to Germany, from Scotland to Italy, by way of Belgium, England, Switzerland, Spain, France ; and with extensions into central Europe, up to Jerusalem.

Since the last monks left Cluny in 1791, the multi-faceted heritage that they passed onto us has crossed the years without us necessarily knowing exactly where it has come from : buildings, amenities (both rural and urban), architecture, sculpture, paintings, music, registers, customs, the lives of saints, sermons, treaties, manuscripts on the liturgy… as far as All Souls’ Day, inked into our calendar for the 2nd November and established by Odilon, the 5th abbot of Cluny.

For this cultural heritage, left in hundreds of places, the European Federation of Cluniac Sites has as objectives both to make them known, and to highlight them, through its educational and cultural work as well as though its tourist activities, in conjunction with university researchers and in partnership with municipalities and public authorities who are in charge of many of the sites.

As one of the « cultural routes » of the Council of Europe since 2005, the European Federation of Cluniac Sites, along with more than one hundred and fifty local authorities, brings together, alongside national institutions, some fifty cultural and tourist associations and private individuals.

This is why a grouping of European institutions have chosen « Cluny and its Cluniac sites » for inscription on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.