Next to monastic churches, cloisters are the second-most interesting and important structures of medieval convents. Via arcades, the walkways, which are sometimes two stories high, grant access to a usually square courtyard. These functioned as places of regeneration, communication, and reading. Wells and fountain houses allowed for washing.
Collegiate Church San Pedro de Teverga, Asturias (E)
During the early Middle Ages - verifiable at least from the eighth century on - these facilities were modest and, when a convent was newly founded, often made of wood. An example from Asturia, though from early modern times, may serve to illustrate this.
Early cloisters are rare. The oldest fragment in Germany, dating from around 1000 and consisting of six arches, is found in the Church of St. Pantaleon in Cologne.
St. Pantaleon, Cologne
Prior to the cubic capital, its rare mushroom capitals were already used in Ottonian architecture.
Translation Erik Eising (MA)