At Ittingen Museum you can experience close up how the monks lived. The artistic highlight is the monastery’s church, a Baroque gem.
Ittingen Museum was established on the premises of the Charterhouse in 1983 by Dr. Margrit Früh, the then curator of the Museum of History Thurgau, in order to open the almost completely preserved monastery to the public. Currently, Ittingen Museum and Art Museum Thurgau, the two museums located within Kartause Ittingen, are headed by Markus Landert.
The Monastery Church
The monastery church is Kartause Ittingen’s heart. For centuries, the ritual of the daily services ruled the monks’ lives, and even today the occasional service is held in the church when the museum is closed.
The Choir Stalls
The monks’ choir, which used to be reserved to the priest-monks, houses one of Kartause Ittingen’s most admired art works; the Baroque choir stalls by Chrisostomus Fröhli, a carver from Bichelsee in the Canton of Thurgau. He and his workshop completed this unique piece in 1701.
The Ittingen Processional Cross
Part of the church’s treasure is preserved in the sacristy of Kartause Ittingen. The word ‘treasure’ is in fact misleading, as the objects on display – chalices, reliquaries, choral dresses and monstrances – are liturgical objects rather than objects of value.
The Refectory – Where the Monks Ate Their Meals
Apart from the church, the refectory is Kartause’s Ittingen most sumptuously decorated room. Destroyed in the ransacking of Ittingen, it was restored in 1541. The finely crafted portal displaying the double coat of arms of Ittingen and prior Petrus Frei bear witness to this date.
The Reliquary of Saint Victoria
As with other monasteries, the possession of relics played an important role at Kartause Ittingen. Some reliquaries can still be admired at Ittingen Museum.
The Procuracy – The Monastery’s Economical Heart
The cell of the monastery’s custodian, or ‘procurator’, is situated where outer farmyard and inner monastery buildings meet. As all the other cells, it is divided into three rooms. From here, the procurator was able to oversee almost all the monastery’s farm buildings. His rooms, however, slightly raised above the rest of these buildings, could not be seen from outside.
The Monks’ Cells
The monks lived in solitary cells, like hermits. On weekdays they would leave their cells only three times to attend mass.