Arnoldstein Abbey Ruins

Arnoldstein, Austria

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. A first abbot appeared about 20 years later. Arnoldstein Abbey was vested with extended estates in the surrounding area, from 1176 the Carinthian dukes acted as secular Vogt protectors.

The monastery complex was severely damaged by the 1348 Friuli earthquake and the convent experienced economical difficulties exacerbated by several Black Death epidemics in the following decades. In 1495 the monks leased parts of the premises to Jakob Fugger and his brothers who had smelteries and a trip hammer erected. Nevertheless, the situation worsened during the Protestant Reformation, when the convent stood at the brink of financial ruin. In the course of his Counter-Reformation measures around 1600, the Habsburg archduke Ferdinand II of Austria pursued plans to hand over the monastery to the Jesuits which however were not carried out.

The Benedictine abbey recovered but was finally abolished by a 1783 decree of Emperor Joseph II. Temporarily used as an administrative building, the monastery complex burnt down on 16 August 1883 and was not rebuilt. The abbey has laid in ruins since then, it has recently been secured and opened to the public.

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Founded: c. 1080
Category: Religious sites in Austria

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