about the Kollegienkirche

The Kollegienkirche / University Church - Modern Art for 300 years

Another church was planned in Salzburg's old town, and one of the most beautiful churches north of the Alps was built. Rejected as a modern box by the population 300 years ago, today we appreciate the modern straight lines of the architecture and the ingenious light guidance through 600 m² of windows.

If one can trust the words of the architect, then he wanted to depict the heavenly Jerusalem on earth. Nothing seemed more appropriate to him for building a university church. It should be white, the color of the divine, which unites all the colors of the world. Knows like the broken light that gives the rainbow, as a sign of the connection between God and man.

A self-confident sovereign prince, Archbishop Johann Ernst von Thun and the most modern architect of his time, Johann Fischer von Erlach, allowed the Kollegienkirche to grow out of the ground in the short construction period of 1696-1707. One wanted to give his residence city supraregional importance and the other to realize the new building techniques he had just learned in Rome. The Salzburg World Cultural Heritage still benefits from this “men's alliance” to this day.

The Kollegienkirche is consecrated to Mary as the Immaculate Conception (feast on December 8th). As the Frauenkirche, its center is exactly under the dome, where heaven and earth connect, the vertical and horizontal energy of the room. Whoever stands there can feel it.

The Kollegienkirche is Salzburg's art church. 300 years ago not only church services but also doctorates took place under the dome. Today it's the Salzb. Festival and many young artists who are inspired by the church interior in their work on behalf of the university parish.

Christian Wallisch-Breitsching
Head of the University Pastoral Care
Administrative director of the Kollegienkirche


Construction Decree

Prince-Archbishop Johann Ernst Graf Thun, the "founder", opposed the long-planned church construction by decreeing a building decree on 6 December 1694, thus creating the conditions for his own church for the Benedictine University, which had been active in Salzburg since 1620.


Start of Building

The construction work began after the laying of the foundation stone on May 6, 1696.

Fassade, Stich um 1712


On November 20, 1707, the church was consecrated and began the eight-day inauguration ceremony.

Haystore & Hospital
Probst, J. F.; Cityscape 1750


After a "quiet" time as a consecrated church, it served as a hay magazine for the troops of Napoleon in 1800 (see Liberation Wars (overview) and later as a military hospital.) Under Bavarian rule, the church lost its original purpose in 1810, as the university was closed At the time of the Duchy of Salzburg and the Empire of Austria it was the church of the State Gymnasium, at the same time it was used as a garrison church.


With the reestablishment of the Salzburg University in 1964, the church reached its again
original provision.

Source: © Salzburger Nachrichten VerlagsgesmbH & Co KG 2018

Probst, J. F.; Cityscape 2013


In the years 2003 to 2013, the Kollegienkirche was renovated by its current owner, the Republic of Austria represented by the Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft, with its own resources, mainly with a donation from the World Monuments Fund and donations from the Salzburg population.

The renovation cost about 12 million euros. For comparison: the construction costs at that time amounted to about 15 million euros, converted to today's purchase price.

Source: © Salzburger Nachrichten VerlagsgesmbH & Co KG 2018