The Cistercian movement swept across Europe in the 12th century, founding monastic movements as it went, and greatly influencing every area of religious and secular life. This is an account of the founding and development of the order, with descriptions of the monastic life. Architectural practice and the design precepts of the monasteries are considered, suggesting reasons why these beautiful, rural retreats have such an enduring appeal. The book provides a guide to all the Cistercian abbeys founded in the Middle Ages, with maps covering the whole of Europe and information regarding the architectural style and accessibility of the abbeys. An appendix gives information on those abbeys which have been converted into hotels, guest houses and restaurants."