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 a grammar school evolved to the most significant Abbey in Carinthia. Pope Urban II put it unter papal protection in 1099 and prevented the development to a proprietary monastery of the Sponheim dynasty.

During the 15th century conflict of the Habsburg duke Frederick III with the Counts of Celje, the troops of Count Ulrich II devastated the premises. The abbey was again ravaged by Ottoman forces in 1476 and besieged by the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus in 1480. In the beginning Ottoman–Habsburg wars, the Habsburg rulers increasingly encumbered the monastery with tributes, they rivalled with the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg to exert influence, while the conventual life decayed. In the 16th century, large parts of Carinthia turned Protestant and two abbots were declared deposed by Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria.

The resurgence of St. Paul's began under Hieronymus Marchstaller, abbot from 1616. The derelict premises around the monastery church were rebuilt according to plans modelled on the Spanish Escorial. The reconstruction was completed under Marchstaller's successors until 1683.

The abbey was dissolved in 1782 by decree of Emperor Joseph II, but resettled in 1809 with monks descending from St. Blaise Abbey in the Black Forest.

Buildings

Within the abbey precinct there is a Romanesque basilica dating from the end of the 12th century. After a fire in 1367 a Gothic vaulted ceiling was added, painted with 44 frescoes by the Tyrolean masters Friedrich and Michael Pacher.

The interior decoration of the church by the Styrian artist Philipp Jakob Straub dates from the 18th century. Beneath the Baroque high altar is a crypt, in which are the coffins of 13 members of the Habsburg family.

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Details

Founded: 1091
Category: Religious sites in Austria

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User Reviews

Andrea (4 years ago)
Wow...so beautiful place with such an strong energy
Taga Gabi (5 years ago)
Amazing location..Old library..Unfortunately it is not open in winter.
Elena Myagkova (5 years ago)
We had a very interesting guide tour. Our guide Marcus was very knowledgeable, and we discovered many things, we did not know. The bibliothek and exhibition were outstanding. We liked our visit there.
A Nagy (5 years ago)
It is great. The exhibition is worth it to visit, too.
Joanna Zajusz (5 years ago)
The whole complex is worth visiting: the amazing cathedral, the museum and museum store. Baroque garden across the street.
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