St. Peter's Monastery & Cemetery & Catacombs
Since St. Peter’s was founded in the 7th century, the church and abbey have been the spiritual heart of the city of Salzburg. Aside from its striking Christian architecture, the cemetery and catacombs are also a must-see for fans of “The Sound of Music”.
A highlight of St. Peter’s Cemetery are the catacombs, which are hewn out of the Mönchsberg itself and date back to late antiquity. The mystical caves served both as hermitages as well as burial sites. These Early Christian catacombs may be visited year-round. The entrance is located at the graves of Mozart’s sister Nannerl and Michael Haydn. After 48 steps you find “Gertrauden Chapel”, dating back to 1178. 36 further steps up lies the “Maximus Chapel”.Entrance is free with the Salzburg Card.
The church and abbey of St. Peter’s were founded by the Frankish missionary Rupert. Particularly remarkable is the fact that the monastic brotherhood of that time still exists, making it the oldest monastic order in the German-speaking world today. After several fires, the church and abbey were restored in a number of different eras, the architecture now incorporating Romanesque, Renaissance and Rococo elements.
In the 17th century, St. Peter’s Abbey built the “Long Gallery” at the request of Prince-Archbishop Guidobald von Thun in order to house a painting collection. In Italian style, the corridor features windows on the one side and a continuous wall for paintings on the other. Today, the “Long Gallery” is accessible to the general public as part of the DomQuartier tour.
St. Peter’s Cemetery
With its unique setting, the cemetery of St. Peter’s is one of the world’s most beautiful and oldest cemeteries. Surrounding the Late Gothic St. Mary’s Chapel in the center of the cemetery, numerous gravestones and burial vaults contribute to the captivating atmosphere. Famous personalities, artists, scholars and merchants found their final resting place here, including Nannerl, Mozart’s sister.
International guests know the cemetery and the catacombs as a famous backdrop for the Hollywood movie “The Sound of Music”. Pursued by the National Socialists, the Trapp family fled through St. Peter’s Cemetery, finding a secure hiding place in the dark rocky recesses before ultimately escaping safely to Switzerland.
Music at St. Peter’s
Mozart and Haydn both have close ties to St. Peter’s. In 1769, the thirteen-year-old Mozart composed his “Dominicus Mass” for the abbot, while just a few years later Michael Haydn was commissioned by the abbey to write his “Rupert Mass”. Today, the Baroque Hall at Stiftskeller St. Peter as well as the Romanesque Hall are regularly used for concert events including “Mozart Dinner Concerts”.
The cemetery can be reached by means of the courtyard of St. Peter’s, with no stairs to contend with. The church and catacombs are not wheelchair-accessible.