In the seven Silent Night communities in the region of Salzburg, you can follow in the footsteps of Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber by visiting modern museums, imposing churches and idyllic squares.
City of Salzburg: Joseph Mohr’s place of birth and it is also where he went to school and completed his seminary training. There are city tours on offer to the “Silent Night!” locations throughout the city, for example, to the house in which Mohr was born or the Cathedral where he was christened. During the anniversary year, a total of nine museums and venues are joining forces to form the decentralised provincial Exhibition “200 years Silent Night! Holy Night! – Austria’s message of peace to the world” from Michaelmas on 29 September 2018 until 3 February 2019. Moreover, the new stage play relating to “Silent Night!” will have its opening night on the 24th of November 2018 at the Felsenreitschule.
Arnsdorf: From 1807 until 1829, Franz Xaver Gruber lived here, working as a teacher, sacristan and organist. Today the Silent Night Museum is located on the first floor of the building, which is still used as a school. It has been awarded the Österreichisches Museumsgütesiegel (Austrian Seal of Quality For Museums). Adjacent is the well-known pilgrimage church “Maria im Mösl”, in which Gruber played the organ. The Gruber-Mohr memorial path connects Arnsdorf with Oberndorf, which is four kilometres away.
Mariapfarr: The father’s side of Joseph Mohr’s originated from Mariapfarr, the first parish that the young assistant priest was sent to following his ordination. Mohr spent the years from 1816 to 1818 in Mariapfarr, and it was here that he wrote “Silent Night!”. The Pfarr-, Wallfahrts- und Stille-Nacht-Museum (Parish, Pilgrimage and Silent Night Museum) also contains, among other attractions, the “Mohr Stube” (Mohr room), with a manger from the year 1750. The panel painting “Anbetung der Weisen” (Worshipping the Wise) in the Pfarr- und Wallfahrtskirche (Parish and Pilgrimage Church) could well have served as Mohr’s inspiration for the song.
Oberndorf: From 1817 to 1819, Joseph Mohr was assistant priest in Oberndorf and from 1816, Franz Xaver Gruber was regularly in Oberndorf in order to fulfil his duties as organist and choirmaster. It was here, on December 24th, 1818, that the two men sang “Silent Night!” for the very first time. The lyrics came from Mohr, while Gruber composed the music. In Oberndorf, the Silent Night Chapel and the new Silent Night Museum are the focal point of the Silent Night district. A special Silent Night post office is set up here during the run up to the festive period.
Hintersee: In 1828, Joseph Mohr took over his first parish as an independent, fully fledged priest. He remained in Hintersee for eight and a half years. Today, the newly erected Joseph-Mohr Memorial Chapel and the historical Joseph Mohr House, together with an exhibition in the old Pfarrhof (Parochial House), honour his work and influence. A new theme trail is set to open in 2018.
Wagrain: Joseph Mohr died of a lung infection in Wagrain, he was only 56 years old. From 1837, he served in what was then still a remote mountain village, and was remembered in the local chronicles as a “kind and charitable priest”. Mohr pushed through the new construction of a primary school and actively helped the old, poor and the needy. The Wagrain cultural stroll retraces the stations in Joseph Mohr’s life right through to his final resting place. The new Silent Night Museum is housed in newly renovated Pflegerschlössl (carers little castle).
Hallein: In 1835, Franz Xaver Gruber and his family moved to Hallein and took on the position of choirmaster and organist in the parish church. Every year on the 24th of December, the famous “Singing at the Gruber Grave” is held. In September 2018, the Silent Night Museum will be reopened, in November 2018, the new Silent Night organ will be played for the first time in the parish church.