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Pforta, or Schulpforta, is a former Cistercian monastery, Pforta Abbey (1137-1540), near Naumburg on the Saale River in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is now a celebrated German public boarding school, called Landesschule Pforta. It is coeducational and teaches around 300 high school students.
The abbey was at first situated in Schmölln, near Altenburg. In 1127, Count Bruno of Pleissengau founded a Benedictine monastery there and endowed it with 1,100 hides of land. This foundation not being successful, on April 23, 1132, Bishop Udo I of Naumburg, a relative of Bruno's, replaced the Benedictines by Cistercian monks from Walkenried Abbey. The situation here proved undesirable, and in 1137 Udo transferred the monastery to Pforta, and conferred upon it fifty hides of arable land, an important tract of forest, and two farms belonging to the diocese.
The patroness of the abbey was the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first abbot was Adalbert, from 1132 to 1152. Under the third abbot, Adetold, two daughter houses were founded under Pforta's auspices, in the Mark of Meissen and in Silesia, and in 1163, the monasteries of Alt-Celle and Leubus were also established in the latter province. At this period the monks numbered about eighty. In 1205, Pforta sent a colony of monks to Livonia, founding there the monastery of Dünamünde. The abbey was distinguished for its excellent system of management, and after the first 140 years of its existence its possessions had increased tenfold.
At the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of the fourteenth centuries, after a period of strife, the monastery flourished again. The last quarter of the fourteenth century witnessed, however, the gradual decline of its prosperity, and also the relaxation of monastic discipline. When Abbot Johannes IV was elected in 1515, there were forty-two monks and seven lay brothers who later revolted against the abbot; an inspection by Duke George of Saxony reported that morality had ceased to exist in the monastery.
In 1543, Henry's son, Duke Moritz opened a national school in the abbey, appropriating for its use the revenues of the suppressed monastery of Memleben Abbey. At first the number of scholars was 100; in 1563 fifty more were able to be accommodated. The first rector was Johann Gigas, renowned as a lyric poet. Under Justinus Bertuch (1601-1626) the school attained the zenith of its prosperity. It suffered greatly during the Thirty Years' War, in 1643, there being only eleven scholars. After the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, Pforta belonged to Prussia, and then to Imperial Germany.
From 1935 til 1945 Schulpforta was an all male academy based on the concept of a Gymnasium or "Oberschule". Tuition was covered both by the state and the students' parents. The name of the school was the "Naumburg/Saale Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt" or "NAPOLA" for short. Graduates received the standard 'Abitur' and could continue their education at any university of their choice.
- Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg
- Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock
- Johann Gottlieb Fichte
- August Ferdinand Möbius
- Leopold von Ranke
- Friedrich Nietzsche
- Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
The remains of the monastery include the 13th century gothic church; it is a cross-vaulted, colonnaded basilica with an extraordinarily long nave, a peculiar western façade, and a late Romanesque double-naved cloister. What remains of the original building (1137-40) is in the Romanesque style, while the restoration (1251-1268) belongs to the early Gothic. Other buildings are now used as dormitories and lecture halls. There is also the Fürstenhaus ("prince's house"), built in 1573. Schulpforta was one of the three Fürstenschulen ("prince's schools") founded in 1543 by Maurice, Elector of Saxony (at that time Duke), the two others being at Grimpla and at Meissen.