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Sacred Spaces in Salzburg, Austria I
Posted In: Religion Articles  2/2/12
By: Yona Williams

Not only is Salzburg, Austria home to significant churches in the history of the country, but it also once accommodated the infamous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as one of its former citizens. In this article, you will learn more about some of the places of religious importance throughout the city, including St. Peter's Cemetery.

Abbey Church of St. Peter

Not only did St. Rupert establish the Abbey Church of St. Peter in Salzburg, but it also serves as his final resting place. With a reputation for dazzling Baroque decoration, the site is the church of a Benedictine abbey. In 696 AD, St. Rupert originally founded St. Peter's Abbey. The building that you see today shows architecture of the Baroque style, whereas it was once an example of the Romanesque period. The church has seen its fair share of historical highlights. For example, Mozart showcased Mass in C Minor for the first time in 1783. His wife, Constanze, sung the lead soprano role for this performance. The August summer music festival held in Salzburg  incorporates Mozart's music as part of the church music concert.

When paying a visit to the Abbey Church, you will find the west portal of the church dates from around 1240 and gives you a glance at Romanesque vaulted arches. The Romanesque architecture is also seen throughout the inside of the church, where you will come across a basilica with three aisles. It's hard to take in these sights when the Late-Baroque style decor of the 1770s is a draw.

Behind the Rupert altar is the Felsengrab, which is thought to be the final resting place of St. Rupert. The church is home to a handful of art pieces, including altar paintings by Kremser Schmidt. Dating back to the early 15th century, you will find the Salzburg Madonna in the left chancel.

St. Peter's Cemetery

In Salzburg, the oldest Christian graveyard is found with a visit to St. Peter's Cemetery (also referred to as the Petersfriedhof). It is here that you will encounter the burial grounds of the Von Trapp family – who is featured in the infamous Sound of Music. The gravesite dates back to 1627.

As you plan your trip to the site, you will pass through eye-catching fences made out of wrought-iron. The cemetery is dotted with Baroque porticoes that house chapels linked to the wealthiest families (that date back generations) of the region. The majority of aristocratic families of Salzburg have been laid to rest at the cemetery. Other notable figures have also been buried at the site.

The graves at the cemetery are cared for by Salzburg families, who use candles, fir branches, and flowers to decorate the grounds. The most popular bloom found is the pansy – its name translates into 'thoughts'.

The cemetery is home to two notable chapels – the Romanesque Chapel of the Holy Cross and the St. Margaret's Chapel, which dates back to the 15th century. Other highlights of the site include the Christian catacombs, the stone-carved stairs, and Crypt XXXI – where you will find the grave of the architect of the Cathedral – Santino Solari.


 

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