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 GastuÅ¾ Inn, purporting to be the oldest inn on Slovenian territory (dating to 1467).References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.