weissenkirchen church wachau

Weissenkirchen church fortress in Wachau

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A covered staircase leads up to the fortified Weissenkirchen church, not far from the Danube river. The late medieval fortification is largely preserved. Weißenkirchen was the capital of the »Wachau Valley«, which belonged to the Bavarian monastery Niederaltaich since the 9th century. It also included the places St. Michael, Wösendorf and Joching. In the 12th century this property went to the monastery of St. Florian.

The church building in its present appearance was built in the second half of the 13th century. The small hexagonal bell tower was built between 1260 and 1290. The turret was added to the early Gothic nave, which is clearly visible in the attic of today’s nave. By the beginning of the 16th century the massive five-storey main tower and the late Gothic choir were added. In the beginning of the 16th century, parish church and Karner were surrounded by a defensive wall, which was reinforced at the corners with at least three towers. For protection against the Turks, the fortified wall was raised and strengthened around 1530. In 1632 Weißenkirchen became its own parish and about 50 years later received a cemetery between the villages of Weissenkirchen and Joching.

Frescos and art in Weissenkirchen church

The fresco in the arched area above the main portal shows St. Mary, Barbara and Catherine. On the south side of the nave are remnants of a monumental Christophorus fresco. From 1736 to 1738 the nave became baroque. The black and gold main altar shows the oil painting “Assumption of the Virgin Mary” from the beginning of the 18th century. It is flanked by the monumental statues of Saints Joseph, Joachim, Anna and John. On the choir walls are more late Baroque sculptures of high quality. In 1775, the Kremser organ maker Joseph Gatto built the green-gold rococo gel. It was faithfully restored in 2002.

Find more information here (German).

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