In this church, the Christmas carol "Silent Night! Holy Night!" was heard for the first time on Christmas Eve in 1818. Today, the Silent-Night-Memorial-Chapel stands on the original site of St. Nikolaus Church.
The floods of the 1890s took their toll. When the decision to move Oberndorf up the Salzach River was taken, after the turn of the century, the fate of old St. Nikolaus Church was sealed. Due its dilapidated condition, the sanctuary was torn down between 1906 and 1910. The Romanesque steeple stood the test of time till 1913, but then it was torn down, too. The altars were moved to the new church and the altar pictures are a silent witness of the first performance of the "Silent Night! Holy Night!" carol.
The Silent-Night-Memorial Chapel was built on the site of St. Nikolaus Church and was consecrated on August 15, 1937. Thirteen years had passed since the laying of the foundation stone. Till 1910/13 the parish church of St. Nikolaus, in which the Christmas carol "Silent Night! Holy Night!" was first performed in 1818, was located where the chapel stands today. Every year at 5 p.m. on December 24th, a memorial service in honor of the creators of the Silent Night carol takes place in front of the Silent Night Memorial Chapel. Thousands of people from around the world attend this ceremony and sing "Silent Night!" in many languages at the conclusion of this ceremony.
You will get more information dealing with the ceremony and guided Silent-Night-tours (including Oberndorf and Arnsdorf) at the Oberndorf Tourism Office - there you are able to get CDs, videos, cassettes, books and souveniers concerning "Silent Night!"
The Christmas carol "Silent Night! Holy Night!" set out to conquer the world via Tyrol. To this day it has been translated into about 300 languages and dialects all over the world. A small selection of the versions in various languages can be seen in the sound carrier collection of the museum.
Experience the Silent Night Tour to the Memorial in Oberndorf with Salzburg Panorama Tours!
Copyright images: Tourismusverband Oberndorf