The charterhouse in Mauerbach

Historical sites


Thanks to archaeological excavations in the oldest Carthusian monastery in Lower Austria, we now know a wealth of details about the everyday life of the monks.

Mauerbach Charterhouse was the oldest Carthusian monastery in Lower Austria. It was founded by the Habsburg duke Frederick the Fair (1289 to 1330) and handed over to the order in 1316. From 1616 onwards, the monastery was rebuilt in a baroque style. The charterhouse was dissolved under Joseph II in 1782 and was a poorhouse and shelter for the homeless until the 1960s. Subsequently, it was used to store works of art looted by the Nazis that were awaiting restitution. Since 1984, the buildings have been used by the Federal Monuments Office for its Information and Training Centre for Monument Conservation and for the Mauerbach Archaeology Centre.

Archaeological excavations
Extensive archaeological excavations of the charterhouse began in 1996. These enabled archaeologists to reconstruct the previously unknown ground plan of the medieval monastery and to trace its architectural history from its beginnings to the baroque complex that still exists today.

The everyday life of the monks
Archaeology has provided new insights into the everyday life of the Carthusians. Each monk had his own cell with a garden, in which he lived and worked. Archaeologists were able to recover several complete cell inventories from the corresponding latrine shafts, mostly everyday objects made from pottery and glass. In addition to everyday pottery, implements and tools, expensive imports such as high-quality majolica tableware from Italy were also found. Books were highly valued; the monks also appeared to be involved in the production of book covers, as numerous book fastenings and furnishings as well as semi-finished products suggest. Since the Carthusians were subject to strict dietary rules that severely restricted their consumption of meat, they ate a great deal of fish and other aquatic animals such as crabs, beavers and especially turtles. They even bred the latter in their own ponds.

Tip: it is possible to visit some of the remains of the medieval charterhouse: the choir of the Schauer’schen Totenkapelle (funeral chapel) in the cloister garden and the lower church, part of which has been exposed and preserved.

Location and how to get there

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    Die Kartause in Mauerbach

    3001 Mauerbach

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