Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Alvastra Monastery

One of the newest, real life places to be reproduced in SL is the Alvastra Monastery, located at Omberg/Alvastra Monestary, Gigli Aragami (99, 139, 22). One of the things I like best about SL is that it allows me to see places that I wouldn’t otherwise get to see, like this historic Swedish treasure.

SL resident Ewa Aska lives near the RL Alvastra Monastery, and she has done an outstanding job of replicating it in SL. This lovely, tranquil spot is a tribute to the RL restored Alvastra Monastery, located in Alvastra, Ödeshög Municipality, in eastern Sweden.

The original Monastery was founded in 1143 A.D. by French monks of the Cistercian order. They came from Clairvaux, France, to the province of Östergötland, Sweden. At its peak, Alvastra was the largest monastery in Sweden. It thrived for almost 400 years, but it was demolished during the Lutheran Reformation in the 1530’s. The Monastery in RL has been restored and is open to the public.

When you arrive at SL Alvastra, look to the right to see the replica of the ruins. At the landing spot there are signs where you can join the Group or donate to its upkeep. On my most recent visit a stage was set up there in preparation for a party.

But once you walk through the stone arches, you’ll find the Monastery is filled with lovely flowers, such as Black-eyed Susan’s, Foxglove, and wild garlic. You can relax with sound of a nearby waterfall and singing birds. The arches and columns create small rooms that are fun to wander through. Off to one side you will find the monks’ garden. In another small alcove there’s a quiet spot where you can kneel to meditate or pray. Here and there you’ll find a bench or a table and chairs. Bring a book and a glass of wine. There are some perfect spots to relax or just soak up some Swedish history.

Outside the ruin, past the landing area, a stone path leads up the mountain and opens into a beautiful meadow. Ewa had done a wonderful job of showcasing Sweden’s natural beauty here. Keep climbing to reach the top, but remember to bring an umbrella and wear a jacket. It’s still cold in Sweden at this time of year.

Grey Lupindo

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