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.

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Details

Founded: 1138
Category: Religious sites in Austria

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

alex andre (10 months ago)
Très beau lieux..calme et sérénité...apaisant
Gilles Oster (2 years ago)
Attention le site est fermé pour cause de travaux jusqu'à Pâques 2019. Toutefois la promenade par le chemin de croix de 2,5 km recommandée par le site officiel est très agréable et ombragée. On arrive au pieds du site après un peu plus de 30 minutes à partir du parking. La vue sur l'église est impressionnante.
Sascha Mehlhase (3 years ago)
Nice place with great views, good food and, when going through the Wolfsklamm, a great hike to it.
Tamer Hirca (4 years ago)
Nice hiking trail ending at a historical worship place. I have been there quite some time ago bit it was one of the most memorable days of my life.
Martin Palmer (5 years ago)
Looks lovely in the photos! Despite enquiring at the tourist information and passing two menus on route we arrived after a long walk in the rain to find that the restaurant could only serve goulash soup and drinks. The 'cook' had no knowledge of the food he would prepare and as one of our children has a serious allergy and we were a long way from any medical help we were unable to eat at the restaurant and had another one hour plus walk to return to civilisation and (late) lunch! Further, the restaurant still encourages smoking in the restaurant and customers have to walk through the smoking part to access the enclosed non-smoking section! Surely this is now against the law in Austria? The restaurant should have posted information on the menu boards in the car park and on route. Clearly they had given no information to the tourist office (or the tourist office had not taken account of information given). The tourist information had stated that the walk would take a half an hour! The route signing stated one hour which was much closer to the mark! This was a disastrous trip and we will not be trying a second time.
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