Welcome to this historic journey through Middelhagen!
Text, photos: Kurverwaltung Middelhagen. Further photos: Jean Fouquet, Landesarchiv Vorpommern Greifswald, R. Imber, J. Grünheid, G. Parchow, P. Czolbe, M. Stöver.
„Monk“ - picture: J. Hübbe
Voice: Friar Jakob - M. Schliemann
All information without guarantee and no claim to completeness. Modifications and errors excepted.
Allow me to introduce myself in all modesty: I am friar Jacob - a simple monk of the former monastry Eldena. Follow me according to the depicted route and numbers, which you will find on the card, and you will discover many testimonials of the past.
My brethren, monks of the cistercian monastry Eldena | Greifswald, acquired the „Land Reddevitz“ in 1252. Furthermore, they purchased the southern part of the peninsula from the family Bonow in 1360 and called it the „Mönke Gaud“ – nowadays known as Mönchgut.
We cleared the forest floor with special skills in agriculture and water management and established Hagen, consisting of the settlements Grotenhagen, Middelhagen and Kleinhagen. Together with initially 15 German and Slav farmers we lived almost 300 years according to the commandment of „pray and work“.
Accompany me to our profitable farmyard – later called „Phillipshagen“. We could not stop the secularisation in 1534, hence our convent estates passed into the hands of Pomeranian Duke Philipp Julius. To remedy the Duke´s constant money problems the ducal farmyard Philippshagen was newly established at the beginning of the 17th century – at the expense of the profitable farmyard including village Grotenhagen.
The subjects had to leave their farmsteads and resettle on assigned grounds, which were less profitable. From 1630 until 1815 Mönchgut had been under Swedish rule. After 1815 the province of Swedish-Pomerania was lost to the Prussians.
The Prussian king had the manor house built in 1828, which still exists today. Furthermore, he ensured the establishment of the Kleinbahnhof Philippshagen for the transport of agricultural products.
Only a few steps behind the manor house you will find the idyllic village pond, which was used by not only us monks but also by the ducal successor as a fish pond.
The path along the pond leads us directly to the historical centre of Middelhagen.
We, the monks, built a church with red bricks and big, bulky boulders in 1455 for our daily prayers. The interior is graced with a winged altar (1480) that was carved out of oak wood and is partially painted – depicting scenes in the life of the Holy Catherine.
Right next to the church door on the right, I would like to recommend a visit to the school museum, especially because of the historic lesson.
Experience the teaching of a one-classroom oft he 19th/20th century and see for yourself, in which modesty the village teacher lived.
Around the church, farmers, Büdners as well as craftsmen like blacksmiths, millers, tailors and Krügers settled over the course of time. The families lived with animals and crops all together in hall houses with an open fire place – which were quite typical for this time - up until the 19th century.
Just look at the Low German house (over 250 years old) and take in its simplicity.
The unique folk costume of Mönchgut was primarily working clothes, but was also a sign of pride and wealth.
Later, the settlers built single-storied houses with several rooms, 1-2 fire places with hood and seperated barn cubicles. Besides the Breedehus, which is situated behind the low German House, you will discover more single-storied testimonials.
Across from you there ist the renovated Landgasthof „Zur Linde“. Do you see it?
The Landgasthof was built in 1815. Already in our former times, guests enjoyed food and drinks. 500 years ago, a pub was established with large medieval bricks – directly located at the old highway. So the Postillion would get his drink directly through the window from the pub host. Because of the low income, the pub host would additionally work as a grocer or heringsalzer.
Follow the Dorfstraße towards Alt Reddevitz. Along the road you will come by thatched houses and marvellous views over the lagoon landscape. By now you have reached the old district of Kleinhagen. Near the water you will find the so called „Salzhaus“ – at the former bulwark (harbour). Only foundation walls show the former salt houses. In the 19th century they were used to store precious rock salt as well as filled herring barrels.
Prior to cans, fish had to be salted and stored in wooden barrels in order to preserve them. The bulwark was also designed as a quay for steamboats and sailing ships.
Did you see the Windschöpfwerk Lobbe in the East?
Also the younger successors of Mönchgut carry on cattle breeding and farming.
Obviously they wanted to cultivate more area. Therefore, they built a pumping station powered by wind in 1922 with which they could drain areas. Out of 33, this is the only pumping station that could be preserved after two reconstruction measures.
Now follow me to the highest mountain of Middelhagen – the Schafberg. The view is certainly unique. Can you see the Baltic Sea?! The little village Lobbe is situated in front you. Lobbe belongs to Middelhagen and was a traditional fishing village.
Via Mariendorf (founded in 1820 and situated at the foot of the Schafberg) you will get to Alt Reddeviz. This is the oldest estate of terraced houses on Mönchgut. The Slavs that settled here prior to the Monks called their home „radovica“ which means „ranked“.
If you wish to delve even deeper into the history, then you should visit the „Herzoggrab“ in the Baaber Heide – a 4000 year old stone chamber oft he Neolithic age.
For now, farewell!