Franciscan Church

Salzburg, Austria

The Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche) is one of the oldest churches in Salzburg. The first church on this site was built in the eighth century during the time of Saint Virgil, who may have used it for baptisms. A document from 1139 mentions a parish church on this site. That church was destroyed by fire in 1167, together with five other churches, including the cathedral. Starting in 1208, the central nave of the church was built in the late-Romanesque style, making it among the oldest buildings in Salzburg. It was consecrated in 1221.

Between 1408 and 1450 Master Hans von Burghausen began work on the radiant Gothic choir to replace the Romanesque choir, which Stefan Krumenauer completed. A slender Gothic tower was added between 1468 and 1498. The church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and served as the parish church until 1635. In 1670, the archbishop ordered the top of the church's tower removed because it was taller than the cathedral tower. The tower was later restored in 1866 in the neo-Gothic style by Joseph Wessiken. In the eighteenth century, the church interior was redesigned in the baroque style. The 'Rosary' of chapels behind the high altar date from the 16th century.

The church choir contains nine chapels decorated in baroque style by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in the eighteenth century. The chapel behind the high altar has a winged marble altar that dates from 1561. The High Altar (1709) by Fischer von Erlach is made of red marble and gold. The central Madonna statue on the winged altar dates from the Late Gothic period (1495-1498) and was sculpted by Michael Pacher of Tyrol. The staircase of the pulpit contains a marble lion from the 12th century standing over a man with a painful grimace on his face, pushing his sword into the belly of the lion. The triumphal arch holds frescoes by Conrad Laib.

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Founded: 1208
Category: Religious sites in Austria

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Niji Lam (3 years ago)
The eye of the visitor is just drawn to the altar, as it’s just glowing in natural light. the pillars and the ceiling above it are so imposing, the thing I like best though, was the fence around the altar, with it’s many little playful and colourful details {flowes, fruit, faces..}.
jan pavlicek (4 years ago)
Really nice church with really dark atmosphere
Barbara Thomann (4 years ago)
a medieval church with an unique atmosphere. The Franziskaner Kirche is more than 1000 years old and an architectural treasure. When you enter the building please remember that it is a god house, and respect the catholic community. There are also people inside who pray and they need their silence. I recommend to sit down for a while and feel the spirit.
Zofia de Rooij (4 years ago)
It is a beautiful place not far from the centre of Salzburg. A place for any history buffs and definitely a place worth visiting if you're religious
Daniel Hume (5 years ago)
Beautiful church with warm and welcoming priests, frequent mass and confessions are often available, lovely artworks, a very peaceful and holy place for reflection and prayer.
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