Žiče Charterhouse or “Domus in Valle Sancti Johannis” is a Carthusian monastery or charterhouse in Saint John the Baptist Valley, close to Slovenjske Konjice. It was founded between 1155 and 1165 as the first Carthusian monastery outside France or Italy.
Žiče Charterhouse was very influential and famous in the 13th and 14th centuries and was even the seat of the Prior General of the Carthusian order in 1391. Many noble people from around the world came to the monastery at that time. Unfortunately, the monastery was abolished in the 16th century and the buildings were left here to be doomed.
The monastery was actually divided in two buildings, the upper and the lower monastery. The upper monastery or “Žiče Charterhouse”, had more strict rules and was reserved for the prayer and silent moments.
The lower monastery was located in the village Špitalič and was open for everyone. The lower monastery was also home of the craftsmen who supported the upper monastery with their work. However, monks in the upper monastery also had quite some chores. They dedicated their time to herbal garden, pharmacy and manuscript writing.
Although the Žiče Charterhouse is now mostly in ruins, it is still obvious that this was a huge object. Many buildings are not partly renovated and special rooms, like a pharmacy, a wine cellar and a pottery room are now great examples of the monks’ lives.
The museum dedicated to the life in the Charterhouse is also arranged in one of the preserved buildings. It is home to numerous manuscripts, even though the majority of more than 2,000 manuscripts from Žiče are now stored in Graz or were destroyed.
Žiče Charterhouse offers a great insight into the life of one of the most interesting Christian orders in history. Many activities, buildings and historical rooms are restored and arranged for visitors.
Every visitor gets an audio guide at the entrance into the charterhouse, with useful information and deep insights into the monastery life. You can also buy local products from the charterhouse.
Some interesting objects to see:
Take the highway Ljubljana – Maribor and exit at Dramlje. Continue your way on the main road towards Slovenjske Konjice and you will reach village Špitalič in about 20 minutes. You will see the sign for Žiče Charterhouse. A big parking lot is located in front of Žiče.