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Sacred Spaces in Salzburg, Austria III
Posted In: Religion Articles  2/3/12
By: Yona Williams

Some people visit religious sites to come closer to their own belief system, while others like to admire the different styles of construction. There are also plenty of sites in Salzburg, Austria that offers many an array of ties to popular cultures and history. In this article, you will learn more about the architecture wonderland of the Franciscan Church and the significance to many tourists of the Nonnberg Convent.

Franciscan Church

Head for the corner of Franziskanergasse and Sigmund Hafner Gasse, you will come across the Franciscan Church, which is one of the oldest churches in Salzburg. The site where the Franciscan Church now stands has supported a church since the 8th century, which was reconstructed during the Romanesque era. Gothic embellishments started to show at the beginning at the 1400s. For starters, the Romanesque choir was replaced by a Gothic choir. Later on in the century, a slim Gothic tower became part of the church. The building operated as a parish church and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary until 1635.

Changes came to the church in 1670 when the archbishop did not feel it was right that the top of the church's tower was higher than the cathedral. The church was brought back to its Neo-Gothic style in 1866. During the 18th century, the interior of the church was revamped with Baroque features.

The Franciscan Church is especially appealing to architecture students, who come to see the interesting blend of styles. There are slender purplish columns that hold up a high Gothic choir that is quite illuminated. The rib vault is another sight to see. There are nine chapels decorated with the elaborateness of a Baroque style that dates back to the 18th century. In the easternmost chapel (which is behind the high altar), a winged marble altar of 1561 captures a piece of the old cathedral.

Red marble and gold was used to create the high altar. At the center of it all is a Madonna statue that is older that everything else that surrounds it. The statue represents Late Gothic sculpture – a creation of Michael Pacher of Tyrol. To the south, you will find the Franciscan Friary opposite the church.

Nonnberg Convent

The Nonnberg Convent is situated on the south side of the Hohensalzburg Fortress in the city. It has a claim to fame as being one of the oldest nunneries in the world that is still continuously functioning. The convent dates back to 700, and was founded by St. Rupert – the same man that the Salzburg Cathedral is dedicated to. The first abbess of the convert was actually Rupert's niece, St. Erentrudis. In the archway, you will see a late-Gothic statue of Erentrudis. In the 9th century, the convent followed in the footsteps of St. Benedict rule. Around 1000, the covert underwent a reconstruction that created many Romanesque style features.

Tourists who come to the site usually refer to the attraction as 'Maria's convent' – which is a reference to both the real Maria and of the Sound of Music. Before she returned to marry Captain von Trapp in the Gothic church, she was a novice nun at the convent.  



 

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