Monday, 3 June 2013

Charterhouse Žiče

There comes a time, when students have enough of their obligations. Exams are tough and the exam period quickly turns from one to two, or even three months, so the beginning of the new semester is a great time to relax a bit. And there’s nothing better than to go out “in nature.” The problem is, we often don’t know where to go. There are many places, which are interesting in any season, so I’ve chose Žiče, the former monastery of the Chartusian order, with its special and rich history.

What to do, when you’re travelling from Celje to Rogla, with the motorway closed and the regional road clogged up with traffic? Easy, you take the side way pass Žiče. That’s what I’ve did and it was incredible!

Author: Paticija Turnšek
The relaxing monastery

Maybe you’ll be wondering why I’m inviting you to a monastery, for all the church stuff is for the older generations. But that’s not how I’d categorise the Charterhouse Žiče. It’s an important historical and cultural sight. The manuscripts of the monks were the only written document of our history of these parts. And the entrance fee is also just symbolic. But not to forget that the Hostelling International membership card will give you a 10% discount.

So what to expect? Before you enter you can already see the beautiful herbal garden and an orchard outside the opened gate of the monastery walls. Through it you will enter the abandoned complex first built in 1160 in the likeness of the French monasteries of the order. It was closed down in 1782 by Emperor Joseph II. With the help of mighty – partly restored – ruines, we can picture the life like it once was and you’ll be able to relax your senses with exhibitions and other events. They do not offer only relaxation on the grassy meadows and the view (the complex is on a hill slope, so from the inside you get a great view of all the buildings) but it’s also a great place for open air concerts. Unfortunately the old manuscripts, which would be the crown jewel of the monastery, are safely tucked away - abroad.

Author: Paticija Turnšek
The ruines themselves have signs and explanations interpreting their functionality. You can visit the church of St. John the Baptist, which gave the name to the whole valley. It’s has interesting gothic architecture, seen by some of the preserved windows. The foundation also shows the chapel of Otokar, the refectories, cellar, kitchen, upper floor, the hall and the funeral chapel.

If you’re still unconvinced and don’t care for it, because it’s something churchy, than let me tell you about the old guesthouse (right next door) where they still prepare food according to the traditional receipts. This used to be the place for the guests, who hadn’t had the entrance to the monastery grounds. Yes, in the times of the monks in the valley, they only allowed a few people to get in. But then again, with all the riches and historical wealth produced there, this might have been a good idea. It was a way to protect their manuscripts, texts, herbal knowledge… all of their intellectual properties.

But history is not all that attracts you here. Summer music events started by hosting Stefan Milenkovich and Edin Karamazov in 2009 Naturally 7, and last year the more famous Manouche. I’m sure, you’ll be able to find something here that will be worth listening or seeing. And girls (also romantic boys), you can get married there as well!

Patricija Turnšek

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