The founders of the monastery in Żarnowiec were the Cistercians of Olive. The foundation was probably in 1235, as confirmed by Popes Innocent IV protection bull. The construction of the church and monastery buildings lasted nearly half a century and ended in the first half of the fourteenth century. In 1409 a single-storey building, so-called Opatówka, was erected for the Cistercian fathers caring for the monastery. The church was originally only monastic, and in the 15th century it became a parish church. During the Polish-Teutonic fights the monastery was repeatedly invaded and plundered.
In 1589, the Cistercian monastery was removed and their buildings and goods were taken over by the Benedictines. The last three nuns left the monastery after the Polish Partitions. In 1834 the Benedictine Order was dissoluted: the Prussian government forbade the admission to the novitiate, the election of the priests, and took away all the property. Since 1946 the monastery is again the seat of the Benedictines.
The building includes: the Church of the Annunciation, the treasury, the library, the chapter house, the entrance hall, the refectory, the cloisters and the courtyard. The church in Żarnowiec is a one-nave building on the rectangular plan without a separate chancel with a stellar, eight-span vault.
Cistercian monastery in Żarnowiec is one of the best preserved gothic monasteries in Poland. To this day survived the church, the former monastic buildings adjoining the northern side of the church and the gothic cloisters that are available for tourists. The chapel house of 1404, rebuilt in 1635, the granary and the monastery wall also survived. Not accessible to tourists is the monastery treasury, containing historical monuments, among others 15th century manuscripts, pastorals and richly decorated graduation, liturgical vestments, sacred sculptures and ancient equipment.
Website wikipedia.org, Opactwo Benedyktynek w Żarnowcu.