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Silent Night Museum

Where Joseph Mohr wrote the world-famous Christmas carol

From 1815 to 1817, Joseph Mohr worked in Mariapfarr as an assistant priest. During this time - in 1816 to be precise - he wrote the lyrics for one of the most well-known Christmas songs: “Silent Night, Holy Night”. This fact was proven after a thorough scientific investigation.
Documentation about Joseph Mohr and his song was thereby connected with the Parish and Pilgrimage Museum.

Did you know...

Interesting facts about Joseph Mohr
  • ... that Joseph Mohr’s roots in the Lungau region can be traced back to the 17th century?
  • ... that his first music teacher and superior in Mariapfarr and Oberndorf also came from Lungau?
  • ... that he took up his first position as coadjutor (assistant priest) in Mariapfarr in 1815 after becoming ordained as a priest?
  • ... that in 1817, he moved to Oberndorf, where the song “Silent Night, Holy Night” was first performed?
  • ... that he died on 4 December 1848 in Wagrain (Salzburg), with no idea of how successful the song would become?
Silent Night autograph

The song

After “Silent Night” was sung for the first time in Oberndorf in 1818, it spread via Tyrol to Germany. It was made famous in particular by the Strasser and Rainer families in Leipzig in 1831 and in New York in 1839.
The song was widely distributed in the first half of the 19th century thanks to printing in Dresden and Leipzig. But the creator remained unknown.
It wasn’t until 1854 that the Royal Prussian Court Orchestra of Berlin made an enquiry to the Benedictine monastery of St. Peter in Salzburg, which revealed the authors to be Joseph Mohr (lyrics) and Franz Xaver Gruber (melody).
Today, the song is known all over the world and is sung in over 300 languages.
Mariapfarr Pilgrimage Basilica covered in deep snow

The nativity scene

The Silent Night Museum in Mariapfarr is also home to an extraordinary nativity scene.
The figures from the 18th century were all lovingly restored by hand and can now be admired in various scenes depicting the birth of Jesus.
These figures were decorating the nativity scene in Mariapfarr at the time when Joseph Mohr worked here as an assistant priest.
A special highlight during your holiday in Mariapfarr - not just in the Advent season!

Mariapfarr Silent Night Museum

Immerse yourself in the spiritual & cultural history of our area

Visit the Parish, Pilgrimage and Silent Night Museum in Mariapfarr.

Opening hours:

30.11.2019 to 21.12.2019: Monday, Thursday and Saturday from 14.00 to 17.00
December to Easter: Monday and Thursday from 2pm to 5pm
June to September: Monday and Thursday from 2pm to 5pm
October: Thursday from 2pm to 5pm
The museum is closed in April, May and November.

Info & guided tours:
Phone 0043 6473 8766 | Email 

Further information on sacral history, the Mariapfarr pilgrimage site and Joseph Mohr can be found on the museum’s website.

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