Silent Night Land Salzburg
"Silent Night," the famous Christmas carol, was performed for the first time in the chapel in Oberndorf near Salzburg on Christmas Eve in 1818. The lyrics were written by the Salzburg pastor, Joseph Mohr, the melody by the Upper Austrian teacher, Franz Xaver Gruber. The song's origin is both simple and sad: the Province of Salzburg was extremely destitute at the time, the salt trade had practically broken down during the Napoleonic War. And there was not even enough money in Oberndorf to replace the bellows on the organ damaged by hungry mice. Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber composed a song to be accompanied by guitar and sang "Silent Night" on Christmas Eve. Today, nearly 200 years later, the folk song has been translated into over 170 languages and is one of the most well-known songs of all time.
A musical journey through Salzburg
Interested guests and visitors can retrace the history of the world-famous carol in the city and province of Salzburg. The route leads to Maria Pfarr in the Lungau region and to Wagrain in the Pongau region, where Joseph Mohr worked as a pastor. Or to Arnsdorf and Oberndorf in Salzburg's Flachgau region, where Mohr met the teacher and composer, Franz Xaver Gruber, and to Hallein and the city of Salzburg. The practical and attractive "Silent Night Card" provides access to all of the Silent Night facilities, memorials and museums at an affordable price.
Silent Night sites in the city of Salzburg
Joseph Mohr was born in Salzburg on December 11, 1792 as the third of four illegitimate children and spent his childhood and school years in the city of the powerful prince archbishops, where wealth and poverty coexisted. Mohr experienced both sides of life during his early years.
A visit to the baptismal font in Salzburg Cathedral in which W.A. Mozart was baptized is a must. Mohr was baptized here just hours after he was born.
The "Silent Night" tour continues to Steingasse, where Mohr grew up with his mother and three siblings. He attended the seminary on Makart Square.
During his school years Joseph Mohr earned some money on the side as a singer and violinist, performing at the Lyceum and St. Peter's Benedictine Monastery at the foot of the Mönchsberg. He attended the Academic High School, now housing the University of Salzburg with its newly renovated Large Auditorium.
Joseph Mohr's autographs, proving that he wrote the poem "Silent Night" during his tenure as a cooperator in Mariapfarr, was not discovered until 1996 and is on display at the Salzburg Museum.
All of the Silent Night sites:
- Arnsdorf: Franz Xaver Gruber's schoolhouse and workplace, Museum and Pilgrimage Church with carillon
- Oberndorf: Gruber/Mohr Memorial Chapel where the carol had its world premiere, special Silent Night post office, Silent Night Museum in the Bruckmann House
- Mariapfarr: Silent Night Museum with nativity scene, replica of "The Mohr Room" and the Pilgrimage Church
- Wagrain: Joseph Mohr Memorial Organ in the Parish Church, Silent Night Room in the Waggerl House and Joseph Mohr's grave
- Hallein: Silent Night district with Museum and Gruber's grave at the Parish Church
For more information visit www.stillenachtland.at