The Saint-Paul abbey in Lavanttal was built in 1091 by the Benedictine monastery of Laval. It is the oldest monastery still active in Corinthia, running a school of 700 students, harboring many artifacts and pieces of art and taking care of a library. Moreover, baroque gardens have recently emerged from the ground and add up to the beauty of the landscape.
About the Saint-Paul Abbey
The hillock on which thrones the current Saint-Paul abbey had already hosted a roman oppidum and later the fortress of the Count Spanheim. In 1091, Benedictine monks left the monastery of Hissau to Saint-Paul where they rooted and developed the monastery. Twice, between 1787 and 1809 and between 1940 and 1945, the Saint-Paul abbey was provisionally deserted, but in both cases quickly resumed its activities. Many exceptional abbots like Hieronymus Marchstaller, Albert Reichart and more recently Bruno Rader made the Saint-Paul abbey a cultural center of importance amongst Deutsch countries and the "treasure of Carinthia”.
The abbatial church of roman style is the throbbing center of the monastic life of the abbey; It is in fact one of the most sacred cult edifices in Austria. Both East and South portals cannot be ignored. The first one is a roman portal with an overhang and rich decorations whereas the second one is utterly stripped with any embellishment but reminds of the style of North-Italian cathedrals from Verona, Parma, Modena and Piacenza with the grand portals. Inside, the church of the Saint-Paul abbey in Lavanttal is big, vast and harmonious despite multiple changes. You will notice the rests of a roman fresco on one side of the apse, the reliefs on the gravestones of the Spanhiem family, the flamboyant frescoes by Michael Pacher from South Tyrol and the frescoes in Thomas von Villach’s abbey.
Arranged around the abbatial church are other interesting buildings: the Rabenstein Chapel, the Sacristy and an ensemble of abbatial edifices in baroque style. The most important object of the Saint-Paul abbey is the relic of a big cross known as "Adelheidkreuz". It was used to settle dissents during numerous administrations and as an alternative to the emblems of the Reich of Rudolf III (Rudolf of Souabe) in order to consolidate its power. Apart from this, an outstanding collection of graphic art is exhibited in the Saint-Paul abbey’s museum; round about 30,000 leaves containing original drawings by Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, Dürer, Breughel, Van Dyck, Tiepolo, Leonard de Vinci and many others artists from Carinthia of any age. In addition, a rich collection of baroque textiles, liturgical clothing from the Middle Age, numerous gold and silver pieces of silverware, an art and curiosity gallery emulating the Ambras Caslte’s in Innsbruck and a library gathering not less than 70,000 volumes that makes it the second most important library in Austria after the National Library.
Another notable point in Saint-Paul in Lavanttal: the gardens, created after baroque gardens of 1963, with two outbuildings and a fountain. Behind it is lies the "Hildegardium", a garden rich with varied plants. Finally, visitors should remind that it is possible to visit the old house of the Spanheim family at the "crystal dome”, underneath the foundations of the Saint-Paul monastery.
Pictures of the Saint-Paul abbey
For a better overview of Klagenfurt, Carinthia Bus’ team worked with the tourist guide agency AHRE Austria Guide a in order to provide you with pictures taken here and there in the city. In case you want to use or publish one of our pictures, we will be happy to send you a higher quality version of the pictures: however, in compensation we would ask you to add a link to our website. Those pictures along with many others taken in Austria can be forward for free –in exchange of a link to our website- by asking us at . For further information about our picture archives of Carinthia and the using conditions, please visit Photographic archives of AHRE Austria Guide.
Pictures of the baroque gardens at the Saint-Paul abbey
More pictures of the Saint-Paul abbey
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Excursions by bus to the Saint-Paul abbey
Do you need to book a trip or a transfer by bus to the Saint-Paul abbey? Or do you want to include the Saint-Paul abbey to your tourist itinerary in Carinthia? The bus rental company Carinthia Bus will gladly help you planning your visit by bus or minibus with driver for your trips and tourist tours to the Saint-Paul abbey in Lavanttral. Please send an email at or call +43 6991 952 49 44if you wish to rent a bus in Carinthia !
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