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The above watercolor is from Carl Ritter, from city archive Gmunden manuscript 129, OÖLAndesarchiv
The engraving is from "Georg Matthaeus Vischer Topography of Upper Austria, 1674", Ed. E. Straßmayr OÖLA, Vlg. Pirngruber, Linz, 1923

1. Introduction

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Geschichte Kloster Traunkirchen
Traunkirchen, Austria

1000 years of Traunkirchen Abbey

Even if the year of the foundation of the female Benedictine monastery in 1020 AD is controversial, it is definitely worth to show the 1000-year-old, in particular the almost 600-year history and significance of the former women's convent. The formation as a canoness foundation, the power position as a mother parish of the inner Salzkammergut, the dissolution of becoming Protestant, the stronghold of recatholization among the Jesuits, secular saline forest ownership in the 19th century, refugee and dwelling place after the Second World War could be understood as precursor of today's cultural site of Traunkirchen. Today's prosperous coexistence of religious and secular life in old monastery walls could be seen as the fruit of these 1000 years. A good reason to commemorate and celebrate.

Why a monastery in Traunkirchen?

When considering the location of Traunkirchen, the question arises - why here, on the edge of the fertile loess soils of the foothills of the Alps, without great expanses for agriculture and cattle breeding, at a sea narrowness at the entrance to a barren, densely forested, inhospitable, climatically rough, sparsely populated area of ​​the Northern Limestone Alps, hidden mining areas, not situated on a large Roman trade or traffic road, a retreat for probably millennia, in a place that has been documentedly settled since the younger Stone Age, a Benedictine monastery, a monastery runned by women, which has been able to maintain for centuries and develop a cultural and religious center, came into existence.

In the change of time

People were, are and always will be - people with all their hopes, desires and longings. They were and are shaped by their living conditions, the resources and the social power structures of their time. Their thinking, feeling and acting is and will always be geared towards the elementary, to survival. There have always been and will always be people who believe in supernatural, "divine" powers and submit to divine power for the purpose of explaining their existence and perpetration, and there will always be people who do not bind the limitation of their lives to an unearthly heavenly being. All people have in common the need to survive, to live well, at least as well as the others, as well as to be able to manifest meaningfulness and meaning of their own existence, so the inscrutability of coming and going, the impermanence that affects us to be able to counteract all common impotence against death. A common monastic life is one way.

Exhibition idea

BA,PhD Elisabeth Rumpf, MAS Reinhard Hofbauer
The exhibition attempts to show the foundation of a Benedictine monastery, the heyday of the nunnery, the end of a female-led convent in the Reformation, the takeover by the Society of Jesus with the aim of recatholization, the dissolution by Emperor Josef II, and the secularized use of the monastery in the subsequent period up to the present day in relation to historical time and development.

© E. Rumpf, R. Hofbauer; Translation: XiBIT Infoguide GmbH