St. Peter's Cemetery
A historic oasis of peace in the middle of the old town and worth a visit
Cemeteries appeal to many people in a very mystical way. For others it's the calm and silence that fascinates them and other guest look for the final resting place of friends who have passed away … at St. Peter's Cemetery in Salzburg's old town you will find a little bit of all the appeals of a cemetery mentioned above. The catacombs inside Salzburg Festungsberg mountain are especially worth the visit.
St. Peter's Cemetery history
St. Peter's Cemetery's beginnings date back to the late Roman Juvavum, but it probably is at least as old as the St. Peter monastery and is dated to the year 700. Surrounded by arcades, which contain many epitaphs and artistically forged iron grids, the history-steeped cemetery seems extremely mystic.
St. Peter's Cemetery, as well as St. Sebastian's Cemetery on Salzburg's other side of the river, are two of the Mozart city's most beautiful cemeteries and places.
St. Peter's Cemetery was first mentioned in a document in a conferment of funeral rights by Archbishop Konrad I. Of Abensberg in 1139. At that time the cemetery was still arranged differently and probably smaller than today. It was at the time when the St. Peter monastery was located between the cross-shape chapel and the abbey church.
Interesting detail: The oldest tombstone is Abbot Dietmar's, who died in 1288. Another tombstone from 1300 presents the oldest family arms represented at the cemetery and it's inscription reads: "Hie leit her Man Gaerr”.
Graves of notable people
If you walk through the cemetery you will discover the graves of various descendent of notable medieval houses, family graves of whole dynasties and various clerical personalities. You should definitely not miss out on the graves of Mozart's sister Nannerl or the one of composer Michael Hayden. The builder of Salzburg Cathedral, Santino Solari, is also buried here.
The catacombs date back to the Early Christian era and are rock-cut into the Festungsberg mountain – from the outside one can see several bays in the rock.
The name "catacombs” has only been used since the 17th century, originally they were called "hermitages” as a result of Hermits hunkering down in the barren rock. Access St. Peter's Cemetery via the ground-level Kommunegruft, which was built in 1656.
The first cave can be reached via 48 stairs. Inside the catacombs you will find a conglomerate of cave tunnel systems that have been made by hand and were last rebuilt in 1860. The catacombs are considered to be Salzburg's oldest burial site.
Inside the rock you will find the Gertrauden Chapel and the Maxumus Chapel, amongst others.
In contrast to the cemetery grounds, the catacombs mainly served as a meeting point for early Christian societies rather than a burial site, even though it was originally built as a temporary storage for the dead body while one of graves on the cemetery was prepared.
The St. Peter's Cemetery's and catacombs' location
In the middle of Salzburg's old town, at Festungsberg's foot and only a few minute walk from your Amadeus Hotels you will find the entrance to St. Peter's Cemetery directly between Kapitelplatz and Festungsberg. St. Peter's Cemetery and the catacombs are idyllically located and therefore perfect for a walk with historic flair and mystic highlights; perfect for a visit during your Salzburg holiday.
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