In Unterstammheim, we come to a crossroads with nice half-timber houses and a fountain decorated with flowers. On the rise, we become the reformed church into view. After a few steep road curves, we can enter the church surrounded by vineyards. The spire and the choir date back to the time around 1515. The nave was rebuilt in 1780. We descend a few metres and then follow a little road that leads along the slope below the vineyards to the Antonius chapel, built 1942. We proceed to Oberstammheim where, heeding the fingerpost, we come to the Gallus chapel. 50 steps lead us up to the nice and wonderfully situated chapel. We take a rest and enjoy the outlook over the vineyard. Mentioned for the first time in 897, the chapel as it stands dates back to the time around 1300.
In the year 1310, the chapel interior was painted all over with scenes from the bible, and at the time of the reformation, in 1524, was painted over. In 1894, the beautiful frescoes appeared again thanks to a careless blow of a stonecutter with the hammer. They were given a restoration and classified as historical monument. On the north wall, we see Knight George and saint Eligius. The south wall is decorated with pictures from the life of Jesus. The upper picture linings show the Genesis, the fall of man, the killing of children of Bethlehem, John baptizes Jesus, the expulsion of the dealers from the temple, the temptation in the desert, the interrogation by Pilate, the flagellation and the crucifixion. The pictures bear a correlation to the Manesse manuscript and are the work of an unknown master of mysticism. It is difficult to tear oneself away from the pictures.
Lake of Nussbaum
On the bench in front of the church, we contemplate the view yet a while longer. In the Middle Ages, 500 m to the east, there was a pilgrimage church St. Anna, but it was demolished at the time of the reformation. Today, it is only the field name that bears witness to this house of God. From the Gallus chapel, we walk down to Oberstammheim (445m) and at the crossroads we come to a few nice half-timber houses. At the village fountain, we continue southwards. Soon, a fingerpost points to the left in the direction of Ürschhausen. Near the Seehof, the route joins the road for a short stretch and in front of a big parking space, leads down to the Nussbaumer lake.
There, we find a small bathing place with barbecue. Using the “Thurgauer Rundwanderweg” trail along the wooded lakeshore, we come through a nature preserve (440m). We learn here that the first traces of human presence in the Seebach valley go back to the time around 9’000 – 5’500 before Christ. The first village was built 4’000 before Christ.
After crossing the road Nussbaumen – Ürschhausen, the path turns in the direction of the farmstead Hälfebärg. The passage to the ruin is permitted. The castle Helfenberg is mentioned in a document of 1331, and fell into decay in the early 15th century. On a small road, we walk between the Hüttwiler See and Hasensee (lakes) in 20 minutes up to Buch (462m). Buch near Frauenfeld houses the early-gothic Sebastian chapel with beautiful wall paintings from the time around 1320 (in the spirit of the time of the Codex Manesse). On the depictions, we can discern Christ’s Passion and St. George with the dragon.
Carthusian monastery of Ittingen
Carthusian monstery of Ittigen
Opposite the church, a road leads away in an eastern direction. To the right, we turn into a field path and at the hamlet of Vorderhorbe, we cross the road Buch-Frauenfeld and traversing a wood, come to the Carthusian monastery of Ittingen. Past the hop fields and the parking space, we enter the compound of the former monastery from the western side (416m). It includes a well-managed inn with garden café and, above all, the museum of Ittingen. In 1079, the castle of Ittingen was rebuilt after being destroyed. An Augustinian monastery came into being in 1150. The church was dedicated to St. Laurentius. In 1461, the Carthusian order took over the monastery and built the houses of the monks. In 1524, the time of the reformation, the complex was severely damaged. The new church was consecrated in 1553.
The magnificent choir stalls date from around 1700. In 1765, the church was altered in the rococo style. In 1848, all the monasteries in the Thurgau were closed, and Ittingen became an agricultural enterprise. In 1977, a foundation was created and the complex was renovated. The properties of the foundation include the forest, the vineyard, the rose garden, the stables, the conference rooms, the restaurant, the lodging house for people with a psychic handicap, and a guesthouse. The showpiece of the museum is the monastery church. It is among the most beautiful creations of the Swiss and South-German rococo. Since it served the monks exclusively, it had neither pulpit nor organ. Through monastery corridors, we reach the monks’ houses, the room of the abbot, and the refectory.
Here, the monks took their meals on Sundays and religious holidays. On the other days, the monks ate, slept, worked and prayed in their cell. The tiled stove with biblical motifs, the pattern of the parquetry and the wooden coffer ceiling were all built between the 16th and 18th century. The visitor gets the impression of being transplanted into another time.
We leave Ittingen through the big archway on the southern side and at first follow the road towards the left, and after 2 minutes, change to a small road on which we walk down to the river Thur. We cross it on the Rohrer bridge (389m). In medieval times, there was only a ferry service here. In 1864, the last big wooden bridge in the canton of Thurgau was built here. In 1920, it was replaced by the first concrete bridge in the canton. To Frauenfeld, there are still 40 minutes to go on a wide forest path along the river Murg.
A sight to see in Frauenfeld is the castle with the donjon from 1230-40. The upper construction in half-timber was added only in late medieval times. In the museum, we see weapons and armours, diverse rooms showing bourgeois home furnishings and décor, church equipments and an exhibition of toys. Not far away, at the end of the pedestrian zone stands the catholic church St. Nicolas, built 1904 in neo-gothic style. In the old town, we find patrician and citizen’s houses from the 17th and 18th centuries.