This hotel is the setting for the Operetta produced by two Berliners.
Josepha, owner of The White Horse Inn, is divided in her affections between her head-waiter Leopold and Dr Siedler, a richer man. She chooses the former, after intervention from the Emperor.
The magnificent Parish church in Sankt Wolfgang is probably one of the most beautiful I have seen in a long time. It was built between the 14th and 15th centuries. The alter was designed by an Austrian artist by the name of Michael Pacher.
St Wolfgang is renowned for the White Horse Inn - made famous by the Operetta written by Oskar Blumenthal and Gustav Kadelburg. Its a romantic comedy of the loving head waiter and the dynamic White Horse Inn hostess during their stay at this Inn in 1896. In 1930 Ralph Benatzky composed the captivating music, and on 8th of November 1930 the opera had its premier at the great Schauspielhaus in Berlin. Since then "The White Horse Inn" - translated into four languages - has galloped around the entire world and tells about the holiday romance on the Lake Wolfgang.
The Pilmgrim church of St. Wolfgang is built on a small terrace, overlooking the hotel Weisses Rossl. It was built in the 14th and 15th centuries and features a stunning winged high altar built by Michael Pacher, a Baroque double altar by Thomas Schwanthaler, and a wealth of religious paintings and statues.
From St Wolfgang the Schafberg can be ascended on foot or by the famous cog railway. We did this trip in the summer but as you can see in this pic (please enlarge) even then there had been a scittering of snow on the Schafberg so dress up warmly it may be windy and snowy up there.
Schafberg Cog Railway, built over 100 years ago, climbs the 5,300ft Schafberg mountain the easy way. A ride on this nostagic train is a must do - especially for those fans of the Sound of Music tour - I'm sure you'll recognise it from the film. Check the website for up to date fares and timetables.
The church is not always open but if you do get a chance to see inside the interior will leave you spellbound with its richness of colour and baroque treasures. The ceiling is stunning with its golden colours and just take a look at the ornate pulpit and organ.
A good way to escape the crowds in the town is to take a delightful trip on a boat around the Wolfgangsee. The glacial water is an amazing blue colour and you can explore other resorts on the lake such as Strobl at tone end and St Gilgen with its Mozart connection at the other end (see more in off the beaten path).
Check the link for timetables and fares - often there is a combinred fare for the boat and train ride up the Schafberg - see later.
In this pic we are heading for St Gilgen and have a lovely view of the Schaberg on the way.
Some of the buildings in Sankt Wolfgang date back to the 16th century. The church dates back the the 10th century, but to see houses that people still live in standing from such a long time ago is quite astonishing.
This house pictured here was built in 1528. The architecture is quite unique to Austria and from what I could tell, the structure still seemed very sound. Then again, I'm no engineer or architect.
You must make your way to the waterfront and see the lake up close. It is astonishing how blue and clear the lake is. Most of the glacial lakes in Austria bear this characteristic which is why the Salzkammergut region (where many of these lakes are found within the Austrian Alps) is so wonderfully beautfiul.
Yes those are my feet, quite stylish don't you think? :-P
Next to the church is a bronze fountain from 1515. My mother-in-law translated a rather lenghty inscription that includes condescending advice to the poor pilgrims. If my memory serves me correctly, it states something along the lines of, "If you can't afford wine, then make yourself happy with the fountain's waters."
I apologize for my picture of it. It's not the most detailed view of the fountain. I was so involved in the inscription's translation that I forgot to take more pictures!
There is a sign across the plaza where the church is found and where Michael Pacher Strasse and Pilgerstrasse meet (the two main streets of St. Wolfgang). This sign depicts all the major events in the history of St. Wolfgang. With my wife's help, I have translated them for you.
829 King Ludwig of Germany gives the East Part of the Wolfgangsee (Abersee) the Bendictine Abbey of Mondsee
976 The Bishop Wolfgang leaves Regensburg to establish the first church at the Wolfgangsee
994 Wolfgang dies in Pupping at Eferding (a town)
14th-16th centuries Peak time of pilgrimages
1429 Fire destroys town and church
1430 The citizens receive freedom and the town is officially founded.
1477 Inauguration of the church, rebuilt under the head abbots, Reuchlin and Eck
1481 Altar is constructed by Michael Pacher
1515 Pilger fountain built
1567 Coat of Arms established by Emperor Maximilian II
1676 Altar built by Schwanthaler
1706 Pulpit und Altars from Guggenbichler
1873 1st Steamship
1893 Schafberg railway built
1930 Operetta about the White Horse Inn
Inside the church, is a replica statue of Sankt Wolfgang. It is certainly worth seeing. It is closed off behind an iron gate and it is well protected. It must be priceless. It's quite possible that this is a reliquary containing the remains or relics of Sankt Wolfgang. I'm not sure though.
Near the tunnel that enters the town of Sankt Wolfgang is a small Water fountain of very modern design. I didn't get a name or history about it, but it is quite neat looking. It's worth a minute to stop and look at. In fact, if you walk from the town center to the Schafberg Railway station, you're sure to pass it.
This is probably the major sight in Sankt Wolfgang. This church was built in the 14th and 15th centuries. This incredible church is virtually a gallery of religious art, with several altars (Gothic to Baroque), a showy pulpit, a fine organ and many statues and paintings.
The best piece is the winged high altar built by Michael Pacher between 1471 and 1481, which has 16 astonishingly detailed panels, depicting scenes from the lives of Christ, the Virgin Mary and St. Wolfgang. The central sculpted scene shows the Coronation of the Virgin, flanked by Saints Wolfgang and Benedict.
The church wardens were once so protective that the wings were kept closed except for important festivals. Now they are always open. In fact it's open daily from 7:30 am.
My pictures inside aren't the best because I felt guilty using the flash inside the church. I wasn't sure if it was allowed. Nonetheless, the church is an important icon to the Catholic church and to the people of St. Wolfgang. So be sure to pay a visit.