The Nonnberg Abbey

The oldest Christian convent for women in the world today

Distance from the hotel: 0.22km about minutes to walk)

The history and architecture

The crypt with its freestanding columns

Extensive renovations of the church took place from 1895 to 1951. The obligation of nobility for the nuns – a prerequisite for admission to the convent – which had existed since the Middle Ages, was abolished in 1848. The church itself is carried by the spirit of Gothic, which here, in contrast to the Franciscan church, unfolds in abundance and richness of ornamentation. A showpiece of the choir is the late Gothic winged altar, whose central shrine is decorated with a noble statue of the Virgin Mary between the two patron saints of the country, Rupert and Virgil. Probably unique in Salzburg is the crypt with its free-standing columns and magnificent reticulated vault. The rock tomb of St. Erentrudis is located in the apse. The famous wall paintings from the middle of the 12th century are the greatest treasure of the church.

The monastery can be reached via Hoher Weg, from Kaigasse via Nonnbergstiege and from Nonntal via a narrow alley. The early building history of the monastery lies in the dark. The oldest monastery church, which is believed to be located near the rock tomb of St. Francis of Assisi. Erentrudis, may have fallen victim to a fire. Emperor Heinrich II and his wife Kunigunde built a Romanesque basilica, which was consecrated to the Mother of God in 1009 and thus became the second oldest Marian church in Salzburg. The magnificent frescoes still preserved from this period are among the most artistically significant Romanesque wall paintings on Austrian soil.

You can visit the monastery daily from 7:00 am until nightfall. Only during the service is not possible to visit.

A gift from Wolf Dietrich

A magnificent late Gothic winged altar from 1498

A magnificent late Gothic winged altar can be found in the Chapel of St. John, located near the monastery gate, which served as a mortuary chapel before its Gothic reconstruction. The masterpiece probably comes from the circle of students of Veit Stoß. The monastery is also rich in art treasures of various kinds, including the folding chair of the abbess with ivory carving and bronze feet, a crucifix from 1300, abbesses’ crowns, sculptures and many works of small art.

The monastery building, a composition of various buildings from the 13th to the 19th century, has no architecture worth mentioning. Monastery buildings and museum are opened only in exceptional cases and even then only to experts and scholars. To visit the frescoes in the “Paradise” and the altar in St. John’s Chapel, one must ask for the key at the monastery gate.

The monastery also gained fame through Maria von Kutschera, who was born in Vienna. She was a candidate for the novitiate in the Benedictine monastery Nonnberg in Salzburg