monastery garden

86956 Schongau, Karmeliterstraße (707 m über NN)

The monastery courtyard of the Heilig-Geist-Spital is located right next to the Heilig-Geist-Spitalkirche St. Anna on the east side of the historic city wall of Schongau. Like the church, it goes back to the work of the Carmelite monks who settled in Schongau at the beginning of the 18th century. Today, various medicinal herbs are grown in the monastery courtyard.

Audio commentary on station 9, monastery garden

Excerpt from the audio commentary by Oliver Pötzsch

The monastery garden of the former Carmelite monastery in Schongau is a place of peace and contemplation. You won‘t find the monastery in my novels, it was only built in the 18th century and is now used as a nursing home. Nevertheless, it is worth taking a look.

On the left side you can see exactly 63 rose bushes. They stand for all the women who died in the notorious Schongau witch trials. You can learn more about this terrible time at the Feichelturm station. I find the name plaques attached to each individual rose bush particularly impressive. They give the victims an identity, suddenly they are no longer numbers, but people.

In the middle of the courtyard there is a small herb garden, in memory of the former monastery pharmacy. The Kuisl family must have owned many of the medicinal herbs here. The executioners earned more than half their income not from torturing and executing, but from healing people – an aspect that you will find in all of my novels. At that time, many Schongauers did not go to the doctor, which only a few could afford, but to the barber or even to the hangman. The Kuisls in particular were known far beyond the city limits as healers.

Incidentally, the crucifix on the right side altar in the neighboring Sankt-Anna-Kirche was financed by the Kuisls‘ money. The Schongau executioner donated at least 24 guilders, the equivalent of several thousand euros. Maybe to buy his salvation with it?

From the monastery courtyard you can also climb the battlement and walk a short distance in the direction of Sebastian‘s cemetery, where Jakob Kuisl and Simon dig up a child‘s corpse again in the first volume. Somewhere here is also the gap through which Kuisl‘s grandchildren Paul and Sophia slip into the city in the eighth part to pay a visit to the Fronveste. Up here on the battlements that were once more than one and a half kilometers long, you can still feel how stately the city once was. A bulwark that was badly damaged in the War of the Spanish Succession in the 18th century.

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