Ursulinenkloster Nunnery in Salzburg Aigen

The Ursulinenkloster is a nunnery in the southern district of Aigen. The convent of the Ursulinen runs a school in this district, which is one of the most famous private, Catholic schools in Salzburg. More prominent, however, is the old Ursulinenkloster building in the Old Town of Salzburg. It is associated with the Kirche St. Markus in the Gstättengasse.

The Ursulin nuns were invited to come to Salzburg by Prince Archbishop Johann Ernst Graf von Thun und Hohenstein. He wanted them to provide education for girls and young women. In 1695, a "seed population" of Ursulin nuns from Klagenfurt in Carinthia came to Salzburg and moved into Schloss Arenberg as a temporary solution.

Three years later, the moved to the "traditional" Ursulinenkloster in the Gstättengasse near the Klausentor. In 1699, the construction of the Ursulinenkloster and Kirche St. Markus started. The architect in charge was Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, a super-star of late Austrian Baroque. Here, the nuns stayed and prospered for centuries - at some point in 1909 even buying the original Stiegl Brewery on Anton-Neumayr-Platz.

Under Nazi-rule, the Ursulinen suffered the same fate as many other convents: They lost their possessions and were forced to give up their buildings in the Old Town. After the end of the war, the convent building was in rather poor shape; in addition, the school grew rather quickly partly due to a strongly increased population. By 1957, the convent decided to abandon the convent in the Altstadt and move alongside with the school to the south of the city.

The current convent and school was opened in 1959. Since then, the facilities are mainly used by the Haus der Natur museum. Some parts of the old convent are associated with the Kirche St. Markus, which is now used by the Ukraining-Catholic community of Salzburg. This has caused a rather strange mix of western, Baroque elements with Orthodox symbols, such as icons.

Further Reading

Ursulinen Salzburg: Official Website

Wikipedia on Ursulines

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