Fahr monastery is first mentioned in AD 1130. The lands were donated by the House of Regensberg. From the very beginning, the nunnery has been ruled by the Abbot of Einsiedeln; the nuns are governed in their daily life by a prioress appointed by the abbot. The bailiwick rights were first held by the Regensberg family, after 1306 by the citizens of the municipality of Zürich, and from 1434 to 1798 by the Meyer von Knonau family.
Around 1530 the monastery was suppressed during the Reformation in Zürich, but it was reopened in 1576. An era of prosperity during the 17th century led to a brisk program of construction: In 1678 the tavern Zu den zwei Raben was built; from 1685 to 1696 the cloister and church tower were renovated; in 1703/04 a new refectory was designed by Johann Moosbrugger; and a house for the chaplain was erected in 1730/34. From 1743 to 1746 the monastery's church was decorated with frescoes by the Torricelli brothers.
In dissolving the old County (Grafschaft) of Baden in 1803, the cantons of Zurich and Aargau established an exclave of Aargau within the canton of Zürich, for the former lands of the monastery. Formerly part of the Bishopric of Constance, the monastery has been part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Basel since 1828. The canton of Aargau chose in 1841 to close all monasteries within its territory, but this was reversed in 1843 for women's monasteries. The negotiations between Einsiedeln Abbey and the cantonal authorities regarding assets and authority were completed nearly 90 years later, in 1932. At that point Aargau granted full autonomy to the monastic community.
During World War II, from November 1943 to February 1944, 11 female Jewish refugees lived secretly in the cloister; unfortunately they had to leave for an unknown destination when the school was opened. On 1 February 1944, the monastery established a Bäuerinnenschule, i.e. an agricultural school for women.
End of 2014 the women's agricultural school had to close for financial reason. At the same time the overall renovation of the monastery's buildings that were built between 1689 and 1746 started.
Viticulture played, for centuries, an important role in the monastic culture. Even in the deed of donation of 22 January 1130, a vineyard was mentioned. In the Middle Ages the cultivation and trade in wine was significant and frequently documented. Cultivation and wine pressing are part of the historic tradition, and the present vineyards comprise 4.2 hectares on the 'Wingert' hill just above the monastery.
Agricultural products made by the nunnery also include liquors and honey, and a variety of other products among them fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. The monastic community sells its products in a shop situated in the monastery and provides a restaurant in the former pilgrim's hostel, built in 1678 AD. The Chapel of St. Anna is a popular site for weddings.
For tourists, Fahr Monastery is a highlight in the Limmat Valley and a popular stop for hikers and bikers along the Limmat.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.