Franziskaner-Church in Salzburg`s old town
One of Salzburg's oldest churches
Franziskanerkircher has always been of great significance in Salzburg, first as a baptistry, later as part of St. Peter's Black Monk abbey and finally as abbey church and Salzburg city's parish church. It is also one of the city's oldest churches and dates back to the 8th century.
Franziskanerkirche proudly soars in the middle of Salzburg's old town. Its steeple was once higher than the cathedral.
Construction & purpose
Today's Franziskanerkirche, which used to be called "Zu Unserer Lieben Frau”, is probably older than the St. Virgil Cathedral. Abbot-bishop Virgil already commissioned a restoration in the second half of the 8th century.
The church was built on an Early Christian place of prayer. Up until 1139 it was part of St. Peter's Black Monk abbey, until 1538 it served as an abbey church for the St. Peter Benedictine nuns and between 1189 and 1628 Franziskanerkirche was Salzburg city's official parish church.
The building saw many changes over the centuries, parts were destroyed during the town fire in 1267, the Romanesque style got out of fashion and many other reasons caused continuous works on the wonderful building. For instance in more recent years the masterful renovation of the high altar by Michael Pacher as well as by Johann Fischer von Erlach. In 1983 the church was again partly renovated and restored.
The two-part church building is part of the Franciscan monastery and includes a Romanesque nave basilica with diagonal rib vault and the nave of the late Gothic choir with star rib vault.
Steeple and bells
There was a time when the Franco-Gothic Franciscan steeple, built by Nuremberg builder from the 15th century, was even bigger than Salzburg Cathedral. In 1670 Archbishop Max Gandolf von Kuenburg had the spire removed because he thought that the "over-towering” was a disgrace.
Franziskanerkirche accommodates more than 10 bells, three of which are of historic origin and date back to the 11th, 12th and 15th century, while seven other bells were added by the Innsbruck Grassmayr bell foundry in 1999 and 2001.