Stiftskirche St Peter

Stiftskirche St Peter in Salzburg is a church originally established by Saint Rupert, and it is best known for its richly decorated interiors.

Saint Rupert, who, according to inherited knowledge, was a descendant from the royal Merovingian family, came to Salzburg, the former ancient Roman city of Juvanum, around 700 AD, and founded St. Peter Stiftskirche and its monastery — today the oldest still functioning German-language monastery.

The church building has been build and rebuild on several occasions, and of the different sections, the Romanesque facade is from around 1240, while the Gothic Chapel of Saint Vitus is from 1319.

However, the church as it stands today, is mostly of Baroque style, a result from repairs and rebuilding during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Stiftskirche St Peter Salzburg Austria

PHOTO: Stiftskirche St. Peter, as seen from a courtyard in front of the building.

Highlights within the church include its extraordinary rich late Baroque style interiors, from 1770s.

The church has several art treasures, such as…

  • altar artworks by Kremser Schmidt, and
  • “Salzburg’s Virgin Mary”, a masterwork from 15th century.

Behind the altar of Saint Rupert, you can find Felsengrab (Stone Grave), where, it is believed, the remains of the church’s founder have been buried.

St. Peter stiftskirche is also the place, where Mozart’s famous Great Mass in C Minor premiered (in 1783), with Mozart’s wife, Constanze, singing the lead soprano.

Mozart, in fact, often conducted the church orchestra and its choir, and played the church organ.

Today, during the annual Salzburg Music Festival (in August), the Great Mass in C Minor is always performed in the church, as part of the festivities.

Adjacent to the church is a legendary restaurant with over thousand years of history behind it, St Peter Stiftskeller (www.stpeter-stiftskeller.at), which serves traditional Austrian cuisine.

Beside the church, you can find one of the most beautiful graveyards in the world.

Several notable historical personalities have been buried there, including…

  • Sanction Solaria (architect of the Salzburg cathedral),
  • Mannerly Mozart (Mozart’s sister),
  • Michael Haydn (composer),
  • Paul Hofhaimer (composer), and
  • Sigmund Haffner (Mozart’s family friend, to whom Mozart dedicated the Haffner serenade and Haffner symphony).