Mount Zion Abbey (Berg Sion) is a Premonstratensian nuns' abbey built on scenic rocky spur above the Gaster valley in 1761 by the priest Joseph Helg. It was built along a pilgrimage route from the churches on Lake Constance to Einsiedeln Abbey. The Loretto Chapel was built in 1763-65. A year after the chapel was completed three sisters moved from Schussenried Abbey in Germany to the new Abbey. The Abbey's farms and private donations supported the residents and allowed it to grow rapidly and by 1778 there were 52 sisters living there. The unique longitudinal main building grew organically through several expansion projects.

Following the 1798 French invasion, the creation of the Helvetic Republic and then the Canton of St. Gallen in 1803, the Abbey went into decline. Under the Republic and the new Canton they lost many of their farms and were sometimes forced to billet troops. It rebounded between 1846-76 under the leadership of the matron Gertrude Hüsler from Steinhausen and confessor Benedict Frey from Wettingen Abbey. By 2000 there were 18 nuns living in the Abbey, under the Bishop of St. Gallen.



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Founded: 1761
Category: Religious sites in Switzerland

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User Reviews

Felix Weber (2 years ago)
Schöner Ort zum entspannen und eine Super Aussicht
Caleb Omamo (3 years ago)
Schön Kloster
Appenzell Moto (3 years ago)
Eindrückliches Gebäude auf einer Anhöhe, die nicht nur den Nonnen Weit- und Einsicht bietet
Anna Wth (3 years ago)
auf einer Anhöhe gelegen mit einem tollen Blick auf den Zürisee
A. Gadient (3 years ago)
Das Kloster ist weit herum sichtbar und von seiner Grösse her erkennbar, dass es mehr als ein Ort der Stille und des Rückzugs ist. Die Gebäudeformation ist rein auf Zweckmässigkeit ausgerichtet, nur bei der Kirche wurde äusserlich mehr Zierde erlaubt, wenn auch schlicht. Die Bogenfenster und der Gockenturm, dessen Dach hochgezogen ist, geben eine besondere Note.
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Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.


The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.