Clunypedia – Virtual Encyclopedia of the Cluniac Sites

General information

Domain: Cultural routes (monastic network)
Title: Clunypedia
Launch: 2013
Country: France

Project focus

Clunypedia is a web portal that was launched by the European Federation of Cluniac Sites in 2013. The Federation’s network of sites was recognized as a Major Cultural Route of the Council of Europe in May 2005. The aim of Clunypedia is to make the Cluniac heritage accessible to a wider interested audience and support cultural and tourism-oriented projects of the Federation. Currently the information on the 150 Cluniac sites is kept brief, though an on-going digitization project aims to provide 3D representations of major sites and objects. Furthermore various historical materials will be added. For Cluny a mobile application has been made available in 2011, which allows accessing also Clunypedia content.



Clunypedia is the result of a joint effort of cultural and technical organisations. The initial concept was developed by the European Federation of Cluniac Sites in cooperation with the Arts et Métiers ParisTech (ENSAM) centre in Cluny. The IT company Paztec S.A.S., an ENSAM spin-off of three technicians, created the Clunypedia portal and ClunyVision mobile application. Information about the Cluniac sites has been provided by members of the Federation.

Financing / funding

Clunypedia partly builds on the digital tools and documentation produced in the EU co-funded GUNZO project, in which the Federation of Cluniac Sites participated with four sites, Cluny (France), Calw-Hirsau (Germany), Crossraguel Abbey (Scotland) and Romainmôtier (Switzerland). Financial contributions to Clunypedia come from the Federation, the French Ministry of Culture and Communications, e.g. for the 3D content programme, and investment by Paztec. The ClunyVision mobile application has been supported by the Town of Cluny and the regional tourism association.

Content & IPR / licensing

Clunypedia is a map-based portal that presents the 150 Cluniac sites on Google Maps and offers a short description of the location and history of each site. The content of the portal has also been made accessible in the ClunyVision mobile application.

A digitization initiative aims at providing 3D models of major sites and objects to the portal. In 2013, digitization has been carried out by staff of Paztec at three sites in France and one each in Poland and Switzerland. The development plan of Clunypedia foresees incorporating for each site historic documents, maps and drawings, historical and iconographic studies, etc.

The copyrights of the content remain with the individual providers; the rights to the web portal are with the European Federation of Cluniac Sites and the IT company Paztec.

Technologies used / innovative features

To illustrate the European dimension of the Cluniac movement, the locations of the monasteries and other sites are presented on Google Maps. The map includes also an interactive time-line that enables users to see the expansion of Cluniac sites in the period 800–1800. Available information on a site can be looked up with a search function as well as by clicking on a site on the map. A weblog on the portal and a Facebook page inform about visits to sites, digitization work, presentations of Clunypedia and other events.
The Town of Cluny and the remains of Cluny Abbey can be explored with the mobile app ClunyVision that was launched in 2011 (available for both Apple iOS and Android smartphones). The content is organised thematically and for twelve major points of interest rich content is provided.

Target users

Clunypedia aims at providing access to information and visual material that is relevant for people with a general interest in monasteries and churches a well as scholars and cultural tourism developers and professionals. The European Federation of Cluniac Sites lists 150 sites. Most are located in France (111), followed by Italy and Switzerland (12 each), UK (8), Germany (4) and Spain (3). Consequently the content of Clunypedia is currently only available in French.

Lessons learned

Cooperation: The cooperation has the potential to create a unique resource based on the already established portal and on-going digitization work. The provision of 3D models and the use of social media are strong elements for attracting further collaboration projects and users.

Content: The content on the portal should be extended not only with 3D models of tangible heritage, but also historical material for contextualization of the models as well as the history of the Cluniac movement and the individual sites. Collecting material for each site will be the task of the members of the European Federation of Cluniac Sites, inviting archivists and historians to contribute available content.

Technologies used / innovative features: The portal features can be extended easily and information also served to mobile devices, i.e. users at the individual sites. An approach for gathering visual documentation could be inviting visitors to capture and share images of the sites.

Sources and links