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.
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:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.