Monasteries in Austria

Pernegg Abbey

Pernegg Abbey was founded as a Premonstratensian nunnery in 1153. It was founded by Ekbert and Ulrich, who also founded the Geras Abbey about 10 kilometres from Pernegg. Pernegg became a community of canons in 1584. In 1700 it became an abbey but was dissolved in 1783 under the reforms of Emperor Joseph II. In the mid-19th century the premises were acquired by Geras Abbey. Since 1995 they have been used as a retreat and ...
Founded: 1153 | Location: Pernegg, 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

Mauerbach Charterhouse

Mauerbach Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery. Founded in 1314 by the Austrian duke Frederick the Fair and rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Baroque monastic complex is one of the most important structures of its kind in Austria. The monastery was plundered and set on fire by Ottoman troops during the 1529 Siege of Vienna and suffered further serious structural damage by the 1590 Neulengbach earthquak ...
Founded: 1314 | Location: Mauerbach, Austria

Reichersberg Abbey

Reichersberg Abbey was founded in the 11th century, when nobleman Wernher von Reichersberg converted his possessions into a monastery. It has been owned by Augustinian Canons since then. The monastery flourished under the guidance of Gerhoh, the third Provost and an eminent theologian. While there, Gerhoh composed his commentary on the Psalms between 1144 and 1148, making much use of the earlier work of Gilbert of Poitie ...
Founded: 1084 | Location: Reichersberg, 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

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

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

Neuberg Abbey

Neuberg Abbey is one of the few extant set of monastic buildings in Austria to have retained its medieval character to any great extent. The abbey was founded in 1327 as a filial monastery of Stift Heiligenkreuz by the Habsburg Duke Otto the Merry, who died here in 1339. It was suppressed in 1786 by Emperor Joseph II. In 1850, the partly ruined premises were converted for use as a hunting lodge for Emperor Franz Joseph I ...
Founded: 1327 | Location: Neuberg an der Mürz, 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

Göss Abbey

Göss Abbey is a former Benedictine nunnery and former Cathedral in Leoben. The nunnery was founded in 1004 by Adula of Leoben, wife of Count Aribo I, and her son, the future Archbishop of Mainz, on the family"s ancestral lands. It was settled by canonesses from Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg. The first abbess was Kunigunde, sister of Archbishop Aribo. Göss was made an Imperial abbey by Henry IV, Holy Roman Empe ...
Founded: 1004 | Location: Leoben, 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

Lienz Friary

The Carmelite friary in Lienz was founded in 1349 by the Countess Euphemia of Görz and her two sons. Although it burned down several times in the following centuries, it always received enough in donations to be able to rebuild. In about 1450 a theological college for the Carmelite Order was housed here. In the early 16th century the prior, Lucas Zach, introduced a reform to ensure that the Carmelite rule was better foll ...
Founded: 1349 | Location: Lienz, 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

St. Georgenberg-Fiecht Abbey

St. Georgenberg-Fiecht Abbey is a Benedictine monastery situated since 1708 in Fiecht in the community of Vomp. A pilgrimage church still stands on the original site on the Georgenberg. Founded in 1138, it is the oldest extant monastery in the Tyrol. According to tradition, the site"s first use was as a hermitage in about the middle of the 10th century by Blessed Rathold of Aibling, of the ancient noble family of th ...
Founded: 1138 | Location: Vomp, 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

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 for ...
Founded: 1134 | Location: Klein-Mariazell, Austria

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.