The Chapter House
Today the chapter house is divided into two rooms: when the dividing wall was constructed, the existing pillars with half-columns (known as compound pillars) were simply included as decoration. The monks’ dormitory was on the upper floor. This was directly connected to the church by a special entrance to make it easier to attend services in the night.
The refectory was the monks’ dining hall. A particularly valuable feature here is the abundance of columns and capitals in both wings. The shafts of the twelve columns in the refectory are decorated with lozenges, zigzag stripes or twisted ropes. The capitals are largely covered with palm fans. These are reminiscent of the exemplary columns in the cloister of Königslutter and point to a possible relationship with Lombardy.
The original 12th century plaster floor is still partly in place, missing parts having been added to match the original floor.
The under-floor heating which has now been exposed, particularly under the refectory, shows that Ilsenburg abbey in the height of the Middle Ages was among the technologically advanced and wealthy monasteries.
Careful observation in front of the east side of the abbey will reveal ruins in the ground. These are the scant remains of a Lady Chapel. Is the Lady Chapel perhaps also older than the abbey, as in the case of Paulinzella? More excavations will be needed.
The Lady Chapel
Here again what is still recognisable today as the beginnings of the vaults at the east wall of the abbey can give important clues. Like other Lady Chapels of Benedictine monasteries, the first floor of the original 2-storey building probably housed the library and scriptorium.