Nonnberg Abbey © Tourismus Salzburg GmbH

Nonnberg Abbey

One of the oldest nunneries of Europe

Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg is the oldest existing nunnery in the German-speaking region and became world-famous through the film The Sound of Music

History of Nonnberg Abbey

The nunnery was founded sometime between 712 and 715 by Saint Bishop Rupert of Salzburg on a terrace of the Salzburg Fortress Mountain. He appointed his relative Erentrudis as the first abbess. Since then, the abbey has existed uninterrupted which makes it the oldest nunnery in the German-speaking area.

The narrow abbey grounds are flanked by the fortress wall on the western side and surrounded by steep slopes on all others. This is why further expansion of the grounds were never possible and the buildings are all quite close together.

The early history of the building complex is shrouded in darkness. The Bavarian Duke and later Emperor Henry II was significantly involved in the building of the abbey. According to records, he donated the Ottonian Henry’s Basilica in gratitude to Saint Erentrudis for her help during a severe illness. The church was consecrated in 1009 in attendance of the emporer. It is the second oldest St. Mary’s Church in Salzburg.

In 1423, the church and large parts of the buildings were destroyed or heavily damaged in a major fire. 1464 saw the start of lengthy reconstructions, that took more than 30 years.

The ministerial life in the abbey continued throughout economic crises and times of war.

The first abbess Erentrudis of Salzburg was a champion of the poor and sick. She was worshipped as a saint. In 1624, she was named Salzburg’s Mother of the Nation. Her rock tomb is located in the crypt of the St. Mary’s Church.

Nonnberg Abbey and The Sound of Music

Nonnberg Abbey became famous all around the world through the movie “The Sound of Music”. Unlike the film portrays the story, Maria Auguste Kutschera wasn’t a nun yet but only a novice and governess in the abbey’s school before she was sent to the widowed Baron von Trapp’s house to temporarily care for his seven children.

In 1927, Maria Auguste and Georg von Trapp married in the Nonnberg Abbey Church. However, in the movie the wedding took place in the church in Mondsee.

The film features no interior shots of the abbey. Filming only took place in the cemetery and in front of the abbey.

Nonnberg Abbey is part of our Original Sound of Music Tour®.

Nonnberg Abbey today

The abbey houses an important collection of medieval manuscripts, gothic sculptures and painting.

Besides their conventual activities (housekeeping, library, archive, etc.), the nuns also run a ceramics manufactory, a guesthouse and a farm in the Erentrudishof, that has been producing organically for over 40 years.

Singing Nuns at Nonnberg Abbey

The nuns at Nonnberg Abbey sing not only in The Sound of Music. In fact, they sing Gregorian chants every morning at 6.45 am in the abbey church.

FAQs Nonnberg Abbey

The Benedictine Abbey Nonnberg is located on the eastern foothills of the Festungsberg beneath the Salzburg Fortress.

Nonnberg Abbey is accessible from the Kaigasse via the Nonnberg Stairs and from Nonntal via a narrow alleyway.

Nonnberg Abbey
Nonnberggasse 2, 5020 Salzburg

Maria Auguste Kutschera was a novice at Nonnberg Abbey. She was sent to care for the children of the widowed Georg Baron von Trapp as a governess. Maria and Georg married and lived through eventful times. The story of the family von Trapp served as the source material for the world-famous movie “The Sound of Music”.

The abbey itself cannot be visited.

The abbey church and the cemetery are open to the public. The church is usually open all day long. Depending on the season, closures between 4.00 and 6.00 pm are possible.

To visit the Johanneskapelle, registration at the gate is necessary.

Services open to the public:

  • 24 December at 11.00 pm: Christmas mass
  • Palm Sunday at 8.00 am with palm parade
  • Maundy Thursday at 6.00 pm
  • Good Friday at 3.00 pm
  • Easter Sunday at 4.30 am: Easter vigil
  • 30 June at 6.30 pm: Solemnity of Saint Erentrudis
  • May devotions: on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays in May at 7.00 pm

(Subject to alterations)