Rich in history and spectacular in architectural design, St Peter's Abbey lays claim as the oldest monastery in German-speaking regions. Along with the monastery itself, the estate is home to St Peter's Church, the Long Gallery, Austria's oldest library, and one of the most beautiful graveyards in the world.
Fans of the movie, The Sound of Music, may recognise the cemetery as the place where the von Trapp family hid from the Nazis. Although there's some debate about whether the scene was filmed at the abbey itself, what's known for sure is that many of Austria's famous personalities such as Mozart's sister Nannerl, and composer Michael Haydn are buried here.
The picturesque resting place features unique iron tomb-markers as well as traditional gravestones and statues, all set among overflowing flowers and foliage. Beside the graveyard is St Peter's Church, which is revered as the heart of the abbey. Abundant with Romanesque and Rococo design that dates back to the 13th century, the church's interior is awe-inspiring at every step. Visitors who take the path through the iron gates leading toward the glowing alter can see the two tall bronze candlesticks donated by Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich in 1609, and works of art by famed 18th-century alter-piece painter Martin Johann Schmidt.
The Long Gallery is also a treasure trove of history and artwork. The 70-metre-long hallway features 17 large pieces of religious works collected by the monastery’s archbishops. The monastery also houses over 1000 books on Benedictine monasticism, medieval church history, art history and local archives. However, Austria's oldest library has been restricted to use by special permission since 1999.