The parish church of Traunkirchen was originally built way back in 1020 by Benedictan nuns who came from the ErinKloster (a convent in Salzburg) to Traunkirchen and erected the oldest convent in Upper Austria. A large fire destroyed the convent in 1327. After the nunnery was shut in 1571 the Benedictines of Kremsmünster took command. In 1622 Emperor Ferdinand 11, by papal consent, conveyed the monastery to the Jesuits of Passau. Thus the monastery of Traunkirchen became resident of the Jesuits. A few years later, in 1632, a second large fire burned the church down and after the second fire the Jesuits rebuilt it into the great Baroque church that can still be seen today.
The church has a very special pulpit that is worth seeing as well as several fine baroque altars and portraits of the apostles. Also interesting is the cemetary outside the church.
For those visiting Traunkirchen, there is a small parking lot just outside the church. You can try to see if you can get parking there. It's the ideal place to park when visiting this small town.
I strongly recommend you pay the Tourist Information Center in Traunkirchen a visit if you don't have a guide like I did. There is a wealth of information available to you there about Traunkirchen and what to see and do.
Traustein is the largest of the mountains around the Traunsee. It stands at 1691 meters (5548 feet). Because of it's sheer sides, it is very difficult mountain to climb. In fact, a number of mountain climbers have died trying to climb up the mountain. At the top of the mountain is a small hut for mountain climbers. Supposedly the sunrise is very nice from up there. I have yet to climb up and see it.
The most memorable quality of Traunstein is how it overlooks the Traunsee. It stands so high above the rest of the peaks that it basically stands alone. It's almost how a tall skyscraper dominates a city skyline.
The Fischerkanzel (Fisherman's pulpit) is one of the main points of interest in Traunkirchen. It was carved in 1753 from wood decorated with silver and gold, it portrays the New Testament scene of the astonished fishermen of the Sea of Galilee pulling in their suddenly full nets at Jesus's direction. The apostles stand in the tub-shaped boat hauling in the fish-laden nets. The composition, colors, and detail give it a very vivid impression that is worth seeing.
The High Altar of the parish church is worth seeing for its depiction of the coronation of Mary. It was built in 1754 by the jesuits and is still quite impressive. The church also has some side altars and a crypt that are worth seeing.
The Traunsee is the deepest lake in Austria. It's maximum depth is 192 meters (630 ft.). The eastern flank of this lake is dominated by rocky crags, particularly Traunstein. Several resorts are strung along the western shore, including Gmunden, Altmuenster, and of course Traunkirchen.
The Cemetary of the Parish Church is not exactly what I would call a must see activity, but what I do find quite worthwhile to see are the various grave stones. In most cases, the typical stones are replaced by wrought iron artwork that depicts the crucifixion is some way or form. Some of these are highly ornate and indeed unique.
On the hill overlooking the Pfarrkirche of Traunkirchen is a spire called the Johannesbergkapelle (Johannesberg Chapel). No one is quite sure when the chapel was built. The earliest mention of it in any official document is 1356. In 1651, the Jesuits of the Pfarrkirche enlarged the chapel.
Inside the chapel is a baroque altar with a painting of St. John the baptist. The tower to the chapel also houses a large bell (not sure if it still rings). Also noteworthy is the paths to walk up to the chapel make for excellent walks and you get some pretty nice views of the Traunsee and Traunsee and not too far away Gmunden.
The Russenvilla (Russian villa), ideally situated on the Klavarienberg (name of the hill), get it's name because the Sophie Pantschulidze, the daughter of a Russian Duke, gave the order to build this villa. The famous architect Theophil von Hansen built the villa between the years 1850 and 1854. The villa hosted famous guests as the Archduke Maximilian (brother of Emperor Franz Josefs and later became Emperor of Mexico--yes Mexico was once part of the Austrio-Hungarian Empire!), Richard Wagner, und Adalbert Stifter. Today it is in private hands. If you look to the left of the picture, you can just make out the double eagle crest symbolic of the Habsburg empire (see picture in Local Customs for a close up).
Sadly there is not much more to say than the Spitzvilla used to belong to Karl Rudolf von Slatin who was Austrian Officer who enjoyed the trust of Queen Victoria of England and served as a Generalgovernor of Sudan for the English. Acquired in 1897, the Spitzvilla accepted great names of the era such as King Edward VII of England and Kaiser Franz Josef. Since 1976, the Spitzvilla has belonged to the Austrian government and is used in the summer as and exhibition and events center.
Just next to the church (attached to the structure actually) is the Handarbeitsmuseum (Hand Crafts Museum) in Traunkirchen. Inside you'll find many traditional hand crafts like Goldhauben (a very traditional golden hat worn by women in parts of Upper Austria and Salzburg provinces), and examples of local knitwork and crochet work.
We were driving along the road to Traunkirchen from Ebensee, when we saw a side road that went beside the Lake. Deciding it would be nice to drive on a less busy side road, we turned onto it, and to our surprise, hidden out of sight from the main road were large sculptures of Lions.
There is a plaque just below the Lion statue telling the sad story.
A local artist was commissioned by the Kaiser Franz Joseph to cast several bronze lions. He finished his first and presented it to the Kaiser to view his work, only for the Kaiser to tell him the Lion had no tongue! The poor man was so upset by his mistake, that he later committed suicide by jumping into the Traunsee (at the spit of land that the the tunnel now bypasses).
This in turn, upset the Kaiser, he felt so bad about this, that he vowed never again to criticize someone who had prepared something for him.
The village of Traunkrichen now hosts a little festival on October 26 to commemorate this event.
The Parish Church of Traunkirchen adjoins the Monastery. This Church is in a lovely position overlooking the Lake, and has some nice onion dome spires and is beautiful inside.
Destroyed by fire twice, it was rebuilt in Baroque style by the Jesuits after the second fire.
Now, come with me inside, because in this Church, there is a famous fisherman Pulpit which was carved in 1753 by an unknown artist.
It represents the miracle of the rich fish catch by Peter. Take a good look at this exeptional piece of art showing the apostles James and John in the boat, dragging the net filled with fish, while in the background is Christ kneeling before Peter.
The "Sounding board" has the statue of Francis Xavier, the Jesuit mission of the Apostle of India and Japan. Four brown and black figures, representatives of the Far East, are sitting at his feet. Against the Saints, there is a large crab, holding in his scissors a cross.
From the Life of St. Francis Xavier, it's said that a ship on which he found himself, was brought by a storm in great danger, in order to allay the storm, he held up his cross into the sea, where his hand was hit by a wave. After landing, he brought back a large cancer of the Holy cross.
Other sights of importance are the main picture "Maria Coronation," painted in 1754, it's rich with character jewelry.
The Village gets very busy when the Corpus Christi procession on the Lake is being performed, as it has been done each year since 1632.
The Traunkirchen Monastery is now owned by the parish of Traunkirchen. A very large building, painted white, I couldn't miss it!
It was in 1020 that Benedictine nuns from the Erinkloster in Salzburg came to Traunkirchen and built the oldest convent of Upper Austria.
During the Reformation, the Nunnery was dissolved in 1573 and was passed onto the Jesuits in Passau in the 17th century. Two major fires destroyed the monastery and the Church, the first in the year 1327, and the second in 1632.
The former monastery now is home to the International Academy (science) and the Summer Academy for Painting, also used for weddings, concerts and seminars.
If you are looking for a Toilet, then head through the arched Monastery entrance, turn left, and you will see them.
This is lovely to do!
When I was in the Monastery, I exited out the door on the opposite side. This took me on a pathway beside the lake, and beside the high Monastery walls.
As I rounded a corner, infront of me were Boat sheds, one was covered in moss and very picturesque, made even more so, as the pathway wound its way up hill and under shady trees complementing the scene, a sight I could sit down and paint if I lived there!
Views were lovely, would be wonderful on a fine and sunny day. I could just imagine myself sitting here on one of the seats, what a lovely place to relax and take it easy!