Zice Charterhouse

Žiče, Slovenia

The Žiče Charterhouse was a Carthusian monastery founded between 1155 and 1165 by Ottokar III of Styria, the Margrave of Styria. It was the first Carthusian monastery in the German sphere of influence of the time, and also the first outside France or Italy. The monastery also had one of the first pharmacies in what is now Slovenia.

The monastery was settled by Carthusian monks from the Grande Chartreuse in France, which also financed the construction. As with French charterhouses, two monasteries were built here: the upper one, where the cloister monks lived according to the strict rule of the Carthusians, and the lower one in the village of Špitalič for the lay monks, who spent less time in prayer and worked as craftsmen, supporting the upper monastery and contributing to its prosperity. The monastery church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist was consecrated on 24 October 1190 by Patriarch Berthold of Aquileia.

At the time of the Great Schism in the western Roman Catholic church in the 14th century, the Žiče Charterhouse became the seat of the Prior General of the Carthusian order for a while in 1391.

The monastery was attacked during an Ottoman raid in 1531. This marked the beginning of a decline in its influence and fortunes. In 1564 it passed into the hands of commendatory abbots and in 1591 to the Jesuits of Graz. It was recovered by the Carthusians in 1593, after which it prospered again. In 1782 Emperor Joseph II abolished the monastery, one of the earliest to be dissolved under the Josephine Reforms.

The charterhouse was allowed to fall into decay. The ruins were bought from the religious foundation in 1826 by Prince Weriand of Windisch-Graetz and remained the property of this family until the end of World War II. Now the owner is the Municipality of Slovenske Konjice.

Today the charterhouse is an important cultural monument with about 20,000 visitors per year. Reconstruction work under expert supervision is still in progress. Just outside the charterhouse is the Gastuž Inn, purporting to be the oldest inn on Slovenian territory (dating to 1467).



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Founded: 1155-1190
Category: Religious sites in Slovenia

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Marko Cvetkovic (13 months ago)
Was expecting much more from the trip to Žička Kartuzija. On the photos and tourist description it looks great. Once arrived it looks very nice from outside. But inside there is nothing. We payed the entrance 5€ per person, but if we would have stayed outside would not miss much. You get an audio guide to hear what was happening inside the monastery but everything is ruined and in the museum there yis nothing, only few replicas of clothes and books. The grass was too high to walk on up to Monastery walls so we did entire sightseeing in less then 45min.
Paul Heller (2 years ago)
Really nice monastery full of history. Unfortunately due to Covid, the actual inside is closed until further notice (along with the cafe on the outside). However it is a very cool place to walk around, there's a nice path around the walls with places to sit. There is some restoration work going on too. Looks like it may take awhile.
Saskia Hanssen (4 years ago)
Super interesting, beautiful quiet location!! Audiotour is included in the entrance fee.
Katja Drnovsek (4 years ago)
Beautifully restored place, try to catch an open air concert in a historical setting.
Sašo Thorževskij (4 years ago)
Amazing! Reserve at least couple of hours as audio guide is included in the entrance fee
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