Monasteries of Upper Austria - Part III
Part III: Kremsmünster - Schlierbach - St. Florian
Stift Kremsmünster in Upper Austria
One of the most important monasteries of Austria, Kremsmünster (http://www.stift-kremsmuenster.at/) was founded in 777 by the last Bavarian Agilolfinger Duke Tassilo III. The first monks settling here were coming from Stift Mondsee. Legend has it that the monastery was founded at the site where a boar killed Tassilo′s son. After the defeat of the Hungarian invasion, Kremsmünster became fully dependent of the Bishop of Passau.
The Romanesque church was started in 1232. Preceding the reformation, Kremsmünster followed the "Melk reforms" to confirm moral standards in Austrian, Bavarian and Swabian monasteries. In 1549, a school ("Gymnasium") was founded that is still maintained. The famous Biedermeier writer Adalbert Stifter was a student at Kremsmünster.
The abbey bloomed under abbot Erenbert Schreyvogel and was re-furbished in Baroque style between 1669 and 1703. Later on, the library, "Kaisersaal" (Emperor′s Hall), and a fascinating, 50 metre high astronomic observatory were built. Today, the Benedictine abbey is famous for its impressive architecture spanning over six courts with pillar cloisters, its church that is a mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque style, the observatory, museum and library with more than 100,000 volumes - but most importantly, the treasury and art collection.
It contains a collection of historic arms, medieval illuminations, all sorts of artworks from Medieval to 19th century and the "Tassilokelch" ("Chalice of Tassilo"). This chalice of copper, gold and silver was made between 764 and 769 to commemorate the wedding of Kremsmünster′s founder Duke Tassilo III. The Benedictine abbey north of the Salzkammergut was renovated for its 1200th anniversary in the 1970ies.
The monastery of Schlierbach (http://www.stift-schlierbach.at/) on the northern edge of the Alps was founded in 1355 as a nunnery, but it was dissolved in 1558. In 1620, it was re-founded as a Cistercian abbey. It bloomed around 1700, when it got most of its elaborate interiors. Its economic confidence faded in the 19th century, but after World War II, Schlierbach recovered.
Today, it is a rather small abbey, but has one of the most elaborately decorated Baroque churches of Austria. The interiors date back to around 1700 and contain works by some of the country′s leading Baroque artists, such as Michael Rottmayr. Schlierbach has limited opening times, but makes a good off-the-beaten-track destination for a quick excursion on the way to or from the Salzkammergut or from Steyr.
Stift St. Florian: Baroque glory outside Linz
The abbey of St. Florian (http://www.stift-st-florian.at/) was founded at the end of the 8th century and became dependent of the bishop of Passau in the 10th century. In 1071 it became Augustinian and after a fire in 1235, much of the formally Romanesque abbey was re-built in Gothic style.
It became famous for its scriptures and book production, but also as a place of scholarly tradition in the 13th and 14th century. Economic trouble due to reformation and Turkish wars during the 15th and 16th century was followed by a period of recovery, expansion and construction between 1650 and 1750. The monastery has a big church with elaborate decorations, is famous for its organ and Baroque library that holds 130,000 volumes.
St. Florian has a reputation for expertise in history, philosophy and music. The Romantic 19th century composer Anton Bruckner was a teacher and organist at St Florian and the associated school; he is buried here, too. Today, the abbey is considered to be the most important Baroque monastery of Austria aside with Kremsmünster, Melk and Klosterneuburg. It is located just outside of Linz and makes a great destination to spend a few hours.
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