about the Kollegienkirche

If you enter the Kollegienkirche from the relatively narrow university square through the main portal, you are impressed. Unexpectedly, the visitor opens up a vastness and size of the space that make it free. Twenty-nine meters high, the barrel vault spans the room. Numerous windows break through the walls and immerse the church in crystalline light at any time of the day. Believing or not, the observer is attracted by the glowing Madonna on the high altar. Surrounded by seventy-one angels, the Immaculata is enthroned there as a symbol of divine wisdom. Who stands in front of her, quasi as seventy-second angel, will look behind her through the big window the sky. A foretaste of paradise, in whose vastness God wants to lead mankind.

When the Austrian master builder Johann Fischer von Erlach created the building as a university church on behalf of the Archbishop of Salzburg Johann Ernestus von Thun from 1696 to 1707, one of the most important Baroque churches in Central Europe was built. The strict forms of the nave, the unadorned white of the room shell allow absolute concentration on the architecture. Only behind the two mighty pillars of the sanctuary, as it were in "Paradise", does the classical severity dissolve into a playful Baroque.

Created by the architect and the client as a place of wisdom, the Kollegienkirche invites to a dialogue between the various arts and the divine, whose spark pervades the world. It is Salzburg's art church, a new place for spirituality, where the exchange with contemporary art and artists is program.


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