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:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.