Kloster Kappel am Albis – en route to Lucerne
Beautifully renovated, complete with a thriving vegetable garden and fantastic views over a rolling landscape leading up to the snow capped Alps lies Kloster Kappel, founded in 1185. The stained church windows in the gothic nave of the former Cistercian monastery date back to 1310 and glow in the intense blues, reds and greens that are the hallmark for the French craftsmanship of that time.
March 5, 1525 the annals report the last mass being celebrated here before the reformation hit. With the walls whitewashed and many of the artwork removed the new reformed church services started a year later in austerity.
Kappeler milk soup then…
Every Swiss child is taught about the first battle in the Kappel area, ending in peace without a single drop of blood shed. Reformed troops from Zürich marched on the Catholic central Swiss Cantons. Thanks to local intervention and while the military leaders negotiated a treaty, the common soldiers on both sides put up a large cooking pot over an open fire. Strategically located on the cantonal boundaries at Kloster Kappel am Albis, one side contributed the milk while the other provided bread for the now famous Kappeler Milchsuppe (milk soup). Two years later in 1531, hostility broke out again and this time Swiss Reformer Huldrych Zwingly and many more lost their life in the ensuing battle
To this day, Kappeler Milchsuppe is served in Switzerland’s political landscape when a quarrel can be mitigated via negotiations. Federal Councillor Pascal Couchepin, for example, ordered Kappeler Milchsuppe in 2006 at the peaceful resolution of an argument about valuable artifacts between Cantons Zürich and St. Gallen, dating back to 1712!
Kloster Kappel today
In 1547, the city of Zürich took over and runs a convent. Three hundred years later the city restores the 350 year old abbey extensively.
Today, the beautifully restored church, convent and property also feature a 74-room seminar hotel in simple style with all the comforts and conveniences of modern life. The focus is on educational and cultural programs such as concerts, readings and exhibition, hiking weekends and week-long courses in a peaceful atmosphere and gorgeous surrounding.
Daily short prayer sittings in the gothic nave are available to those interested and the convent café offers delicious home-grown and home-made food. The terrace overlooking the organic market garden attracts many hikers, especially on the weekends.
Kloster Kappel and its hotel are a beautiful spot to attend a seminar, go for a hiking weekend or just commune with the surrounding nature, relaxing, de-stressing and breathing deeply; – for an hour or for a few days.