Monastaries of Styria - Part III
Part III: Rein - Stainz - Vorau
Rein (http://www.stift-rein.at/) is the oldest existing monastery of the Cistercian order. It was founded in 1129 and soon grew remarkably due to endowments from local nobility, mostly in agricultural land and forests. Soon the monks of Rein reached out to found new monasteries: Wilhering near Linz in Upper Austria, Sittich in Krain in the 12th century, the Neukloster in Wiener Neustadt in 1444, Schlierbach in Upper Austria in 1620.
The buildings of Rein are almost uniformly built in Renaissance and early Baroque style and very pretty; they were flooded in 1975, but today, the entire monastery is refurbished and quite presentable. Only the library with its 70,000 volumes was severely damaged by the flood. Rein is in a convenient distance from Graz and suitable for a short visit to stroll along the cloisters and see the church Mariae Himmelfahrt.
The monastery of Stainz (http://www.stainz.at/) was founded by a local count in 1229 and was first populated by Augustinian monks from Seckau abbey. Over the course of the Middle Ages, just like many other monasteries, Stainz constantly grew and increased its possessions. However, mismanagement made much of the prosperity fall off within a few years in the 16th century.
A new abbot from the Rhine valley was installed, despite of not being Augustinian himself, and managed to fix the financial difficulties of Stainz. Nevertheless, he was not very popular among the monks, for being rather pushy, business-minded and too enthusiastic about the destruction of Medieval treasures in favour of new, Renaissance buildings.
However, the monastery boomed economically and was a wealthy entity by 1785, when it was dissolved on order by Emperor Joseph II. All possessions went to the public and in 1850, the monastery was sold as a "castle" to Archduke Johann, the brother of Emperor Franz II. Archduke Johann made Styria the centre of his life and became an important figure in modernizing the county.
He was elected the first mayor of Stainz and the "castle" is still in the possession of his family, the counts of Meran. Visitors of the former monastery can see the church and a museum that the federal province of Styria operates in the buildings of the former abbey.
The very pretty Augustinian monastery of Vorau (http://www.stift-vorau.at/) was founded in 1163 by the Archbishop Eberhard of Salzburg and populated through Salzburg and Seckau. Quickly, Vorau became known for its scriptorium. The "Vorauer Sammelhandschrift" is a famous medieval manuscript from this abbey.
Throughout its history, Vorau was the target of various violent incidents: Hungarians, Turks, Hajduks and other ethnicities repeatedly attacked the abbey. Fortifications were built in 1458 and constantly extended. In 1504, Pöllau abbey was founded by monks from Vorau.
In the 17th and 18th century, most of the current buildings were erected or refurbished. The monastery was the site of fierce fighting towards the end of WWII, which caused major damages. It was renovated in recent years and famous for its courts, the church with its two towers and rich interiors, representative halls and the library from 1730, which was decorated with Rococo ornaments and stucco work in 1767.
The library is mostly famous for its decorations, it holds 17,000 volumes in its 24 metre long main hall, and another 20,000 volumes are stored in other rooms.
All Monasteries by Province
back to "sightseeing styria"