Historic site and monument
La Chartreuse de Saint-Hugon
Institut Shangpa Karma Ling - Chartreuse de St Hugon
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The old Chartreuse of Saint-Hugon burned in a fire at the end of 2017. The reconstruction will be long. The Karma Ling Institute, which resides there, has however reopened and is continuing its activities.
DescriptionLocated in the hamlet of Saint-Higon, the Chartreuse de Saint-Hugon was led by the Pères Chartreux until 1792. The sale and manufacture of iron and steel used to be a principal source of income for this former monastery, which is now the seat of the Institut Karma Ling.
The history of this site begins in 1173, on the banks of the River Bens. This Carthusian monastery is famous for its forges and blast furnaces, with iron ore being particularly abundant in the region. The ore was smelted in ovens before being deposited, over several years, on a spacious esplanade called a 'regraine'. Once cast, the iron ore was now pure iron or steel. Trip hammers manufactured wide iron strips, circles and hardware (camping stoves, pots and spades). Until the French Revolution, the monks managed this steel industry, which was a rich source of profits for the monastery. In 1792, the monks were persecuted, the Chartreuse pillaged and abandoned and their possessions sold as national treasures.
Since 1979, the Institut Karma Ling, one of the biggest Buddhist centres in Europe, has occupied the former Chartreuse de Saint-Hugon.