From a distance, the monumental, pompously and richlyendowed papal basilica shows the once important and prominent status of the abandoned Benedictine monastery of Mondsee. It was established in 748 by Bavarian duke Odilo of the Agilolfinger House, which would make it today's oldest monastery in Upper Austria. The pilgrimage site, St. Wolfgang, stood under the patronage of the monastery and led it to importance and fame.
Meinrad Guggenbichler's countless angels in the monastery church prove it. Not one resembles the other. In the baroque period everything was a stage in order to give people an idea of heaven through their own glory, and so it follows that a world-wide famous movie, The Sound of Music, made use of it. The wedding scene was filmed there.
The "Mondsee culture" lies indeed thousands of years in the past. Findings from the Neolithic period - remains from lake dwellings can be viewed in the Lake Dwelling Museum of Mondsee.
If today you see smoke rising from the shingle roof of a farm house somewhat elevated on the hill behind the basilica, it is no fire hazard. It is a special heating technique which was common for many centuries in the Mondsee region. With a glass of cider in hand in the Mondseer Smokehouse, one can experience that farmer culture that found its end just about 40 years ago.
© Brigitte Leithner