St. Georgenberg-Fiecht Abbey

Vomp, Austria

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 the Rapotonen, who established his cell on the Georgenberg, a rocky outcrop rising some hundred metres above the Stallental valley near Stans.

Substantial donations to the community as early as 1000 or thereabouts from Albuin, Bishop of Brixen, and in 1097 from Emperor Henry IV suggest that by that time there was already a well-established monastery here rather than a simple hermitage.

The religious community at St. Georgenberg was turned into a Benedictine abbey in 1138 by Reginbert, Bishop of Brixen; the papal charter of confirmation is dated 30 April 1138.

On 31 October 1705 there occurred the fourth in a series of disastrous fires which ruined all the buildings, and the abbey was moved to a new site at Fiecht in the Inn valley. It became operative again in 1708.

Because of lack of funds, however, the new conventual buildings and church (begun in 1741 and finished in 1750; its tower was finished as late as 1781) were uniquely modest in their construction, but for that very reason are the more impressive as examples of Baroque architecture. Only the inside of the church and the trompe l'oeil façade, only visible from the monastic buildings, were finished in the typical style of the era: stuccoists of the Wessobrunn School, such as Franz Xaver Feuchtmayer the Elder and his brother Michael, the frescoist Matthäus Günther and other renowned sculptors from the Tyrol and elsewhere were engaged for these parts of the construction.

After the Treaty of Pressburg in 1806 the Tyrol was passed from Austria to Bavaria, and Fiecht Abbey was suppressed by the Bavarian government in 1807, but was restored in 1816, when the Tyrol again became part of Austria. It suffered from another serious fire in 1868 which ruined most of the collection of graphic art, but spared most of the library.

Pilgrimage churches on the Georgenberg

Pilgrimages here began around 1100 and increased after the 'blood miracle' that is reported to have happened in about 1310. The main objects of veneration are Saint George, a Gothic Pietà sculpture from about 1415 and the reliquary of the Holy Blood. The present Baroque church, dedicated to Saints George and James, was built after the 1705 fire on the site and to the approximate ground plan of the old church. The new building was finished in 1735, with further alterations in 1863 (frescoes) and 1866.

The Lindenkirche, a small church dedicated to Saint Mary, existed as a stone building from about 1230 and housed the Pietà until it was transferred to the larger rebuilt church of Saints George and James in 1736. Major changes to the building were made in 1759 and 1882, but its Romanesque porch is still intact.

As otherwise there would be no access to the monastery except by strenuous climbing, a bridge was constructed by the 15th century, which had to be restored by 1709, after the great fire. Its name is the Hohe Brücke ('high bridge'). When walking up from Stans, however, many pilgrims still take the route that leads through the romantic Wolfsklamm gorge.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1138
Category: Religious sites in Austria

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Patrick G (11 months ago)
The monastery offers gorgeous views and is very well maintained. The wooden covered bridge leading to the monastery is equally impressive. The food and drinks served at the top are typical fare, but tasty. It is well worth the hike up. The hike up is not challenging, following a gravel road the entire way (unless you choose to take the Wolfsklamm route, which is also not terribly challenging, but may be harder for folks who aren't as mobile or afraid of heights)
Roel Van Haute (13 months ago)
The food is very good and not exspensive
advanced lemon (14 months ago)
good priceces for the location, friendly service and good food
Maria Fernandez (2 years ago)
Lovely easy hike up to the monastery. Perfect time of the year with the turn of the leaves, all tones of yellow, orange, red and green. At the monastery there is also a restaurant, we had a real good Apfelstrudel. Recommended for all ages, great for families and older people because is not hard on the knees.
Maria Fernandez (2 years ago)
Lovely easy hike up to the monastery. Perfect time of the year with the turn of the leaves, all tones of yellow, orange, red and green. At the monastery there is also a restaurant, we had a real good Apfelstrudel. Recommended for all ages, great for families and older people because is not hard on the knees.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.