Monasteries in Austria

Wilhering Abbey

Wilhering Abbey, re-constructed in the 18th century, are known for their spectacular Rococo decoration. The monastery was founded by Ulrich and Kolo of Wilhering, who donated their family"s old castle for the purpose in 1146. The abbey almost came to an end during the Protestant Reformation, when Abbot Erasmus Mayer absconded with its funds to Nuremberg, where he married. By 1585, there were no monks left at the abbe ...
Founded: 1146 | Location: Wilhering, Austria

Saint George's Abbey

St. George"s Abbey was founded between 1002 and 1008 by the Countess Wichburg, the wife of Count Ottwin von Sonnenburg of Pustertal. Wichbirg was the sister of the Archbishop Hartwig. The founder"s daughter Hildpurg, a nun in the Nonnberg Benedictine abbey in Salzburg, was ordained as the first abbess, and brought the first nuns with her. Count Ottwin and Countess Wichburg were entombed in the crypt of the conve ...
Founded: 1002-1008 | Location: Sankt Georgen am Längsee, Austria

Lilienfeld Abbey

Lilienfeld Abbey was founded in 1202 by Leopold VI, Duke of Austria and Styria, as a daughter house of Heiligenkreuz Abbey. Successive abbots acted as councillors to the rulers of Austria, and the abbey became wealthy as a result of this valuable connection. Abbot Matthew Kollweis (1650-1695) turned the monastery into a fortress during the Turkish advance against Vienna in 1683, installing a garrison and giving shelter t ...
Founded: 1202 | Location: Lilienfeld, Austria

Michaelbeuern Abbey

A monastic cell existed in Dorfbeuern as early as 736 or thereabouts, referred to in the Aachen Monastery Register in 817. After the Hungarian wars, reconstruction began in 977 with an endowment from Emperor Otto II. More times of crisis came upon the abbey with the fire of 1346, mismanagement of the prebendal income and the effects of the Reformation. From the 17th century however Michaelbeuern began a long period of p ...
Founded: 8th century | Location: Dorfbeuern, Austria

Schlierbach Abbey

Schlierbach Abbey is a Cistercian monastery founded in 1355, and rebuilt in the last quarter of the 17th century. The original foundation was a convent for nuns, abandoned around 1556 during the Protestant Reformation. The abbey was reoccupied as a monastery in 1620, and rebuilt in magnificent baroque style between 1672 and 1712. The monastery again went into decline with the upheavals before, during and after the Napoleo ...
Founded: 1355 | Location: Schlierbach, Austria

Wettingen-Mehrerau Abbey

Wettingen-Mehrerau Abbey is a Cistercian territorial abbey and cathedral on the outskirts of Bregenz. The first monastery at Mehrerau was founded by Saint Columbanus who, after he was driven from Luxeuil, settled here about 611 and built a monastery after the model of Luxeuil. A monastery of nuns was soon established nearby. Little information survives on the history of either foundation up to 1079, when the monastery wa ...
Founded: 611 AD | Location: Bregenz, Austria

Schlägl Abbey

Schlägl Abbey is the gemstone of the Mühlviertel region. Here, at the foot of the Bohemian Forest, the members of the Premonstratensian Order have worked and lived for almost 900 years.The Gothic monastery church is furnished with three naves and is impressive due to a large staircase up to the main nave. The altars, pulpits and choir-stalls from the 17th and 18th centuries are impressive with their rich carving and inl ...
Founded: 1202 | Location: Schlägl, Austria

Aggsbach Charterhouse

Aggsbach Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery in Aggsbach Dorf. The monastery was founded in 1380 by Heidenreich von Maissau. It was dissolved in 1782 in the reforms of Emperor Joseph II. The premises were mostly converted for use as a castle, except for a few portions which were incorporated into the parish priest"s farm. The monks" cells and the cloister were demolished. The Carthusian church, with th ...
Founded: 1380 | Location: Aggsbach Dorf, Austria

Spital am Pyhrn Abbey

Spital am Pyhrn Abbey was founded around 1060. During the 3rd Crusade, Bishop Otto II of Bamberg founded a hospital in 1190. After this the abbey started to flourish until the it was destroyed by fire in 1502. The abbey was rebuilt in Baroque style. Today, the Austrian rock art museum is located in the restored Baroque rooms of the monastery.
Founded: 1060 | Location: Spital am Pyhrn, Austria

St. Paul's Abbey

Saint Paul"s Abbey in Lavanttal is a Benedictine monastery established in 1091 by the Sponheim count Engelbert I, Margrave of Istria. It was built on the site of a former castle and a church consecrated by Archbishop Hartwig of Salzburg in 991. Backed by subsidies from Hirsau Abbey as well as by Engelbert"s brother Archbishop Hartwig of Magdeburg, the monastery quickly prospered and with its own scriptorium and ...
Founded: 1091 | Location: Sankt Paul im Lavanttal, Austria

Säusenstein Abbey

The foundation charter of Säusenstein Abbey is dated 19 September 1336, when the founder, the nobleman Eberhard of Wallsee, granted the site and a substantial endowment to the Cistercian monks of Wilhering Abbey. The abbey suffered from the Turkish invasions of the 16th century, particularly in connection with the Siege of Vienna in 1526. Although forethought on the part of abbots saved many of the abbey"s valuabl ...
Founded: 1336 | Location: Ybbs an der Donau, Austria

Kleinmariazell Abbey

Kleinmariazell cloister lies on an old pilgrim's trail, the Via Sacra from Vienna to Mariazell. The church and cloister were founded in 1134 or 1136 by Heinrich and Rapoto of Schwarzburg-Nöstach. The cloister was dissolved in 1782 during the course of the Josphine Reforms and falls into decay. The cloister and its lands were put up for auction. Many owners followed, and the cloister was turned into a palace. The former m ...
Founded: 1134 | Location: Klein-Mariazell, Austria

Gleink Abbey

Gleink Abbey was founded in the early 12th century by the local nobleman, Arnhalm I of Glunich, who gave his castle for conversion to a monastery. The premises, dedicated to Saint Andrew, were ready for occupation in the 1120s. Gleink was settled from Garsten Abbey. The abbey suffered fire damage in 1220, 1275 and 1313, but narrowly escaped destruction at the hands of the invading Hungarians in the late 15th century and t ...
Founded: c. 1120 | Location: Steyr, Austria

Griffen Abbey

From about 1233 the Bamberg bishops had the Romanesque Griffen parish church enlarged and rebuilt as a Premonstratensian monastery. The first canons descended from Vessra Abbey in the Franconian County of Henneberg. The monastery complex was completed in 1272 and significantly enlarged by Baroque buildings in the 17th century. Griffen remained the only Premonstratensian abbey in the Inner Austrian lands until its abolitio ...
Founded: 1233 | Location: Griffen, Austria

Pupping Abbey

Pupping monastery was founded in 1477 by the Couns of Schaunberg. The church was consecrated in 1490 and remodelled in the Baroque style in 1621. However, the monastery was sold and church demolished in 1801 after the secularization.
Founded: 1303 | Location: Pupping, Austria

Arnoldstein Abbey Ruins

Arnoldstein is a former Benedictine abbey. A fortress at the site was first mentioned about 1085/90, then held by ministeriales of the Bamberg prince-bishops who had received extended Carinthian estates from the hands of Emperor Henry II on the occasion of his coronation in 1014. To strengthen his episcopal authority, Bishop Otto of Bamberg had the castle slighted and established a Benedictine convent at the site in 1106. ...
Founded: c. 1080 | Location: Arnoldstein, Austria

Garsten Abbey

Garsten Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery in Upper Austria. Since 1851, the former monastery buildings have accommodated a prison. The abbey was founded in 1080-82 by Ottokar II of Styria as a community of secular canons and as a dynastic burial place for his family. Together with his fortress, the Styraburg (Schloss Lemberg), it served as a focal point of Ottokar as ruler of the Traungau, and was endowed with signi ...
Founded: 1080 | Location: Garsten, Austria

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Royal Palace of Naples

Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.

Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.

In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.

During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.

In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.

The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.