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Abbey

europe western

Abbey, building of a monastic house or religious community, centered on a church. The cloistered life of medieval times grew out of the anchorite, or hermit, communities of Egypt and the Near East in the early Christian era. The first abbey in western Europe was established in France in 360, and the first in England, Bangor Abbey, in 560. Abbeys were centers of culture and the practical arts throughout western Europe.

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