Historian Bill Egan presents

The Silent Night Road begins in Hochburg, Upper Austria, 44 km north of the city of Salzburg, and continues south into the state of Salzburg through Arnsdorf, Oberndorf, Salzburg, Hallein, and Wagrain to Mariapfarr in the Lungau region of Salzburg.
This route takes you to the major cultural and historic sites related to the world-famous Christmas carol and its composers, Joseph Mohr and Franz Xaver Gruber. Learn the history of "Stille Nacht" as you travel Austria's Silent Night Road.

CODE
M - museum
H - hotel
G - guesthouse
D - dining
S - snacks or light meals

HOCHBURG (Upper Austria)

M-H-G-D-S

Hochburg is the birthplace (1787) of Franz Xaver Gruber, composer, organist, schoolteacher. Although he came from a family of weaver's, he was more interested in music and trained to become a school teacher.
His birthplace is no longer standing, however a model of the home can be seen in the local Folk Museum (Heimathaus), where his life and career are documented.

Model of Gruber home in Hochburg

OBERNDORF (Salzburg)

M-H-G-D-S

The world's best-loved Christmas carol was first heard at Midnight Mass in St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf in 1818. The words were written by Fr. Joseph Mohr in 1816 while he was stationed at a pilgrim church in Mariapfarr. The music was added December 24, 1818, by Franz Xaver Gruber, the parish organist, who was also a schoolteacher in the nearby village of Arnsdorf.
Today, you can visit the Silent Night Chapel which stands on the site of the original St. Nicholas. Nearby, is the Silent Night Museum which documents the history of the famous carol as well as the history of the salt-trade on the nearby Salzach River.
St. Nicholas, torn down because of flooding in the area, is now located in downtown Oberndorf. You can view the magnificent altars and art work from the original church.

Silent Night Chapel

St. Nicholas Church

ARNSDORF

M-G-S

In the village of Arnsdorf, you can visit the Franz Xaver Gruber Museum on the second floor of the school house where he served as the schoolmaster. The museum is the former apartment of Gruber and his family and contains furniture and mementos depicting their life in the early 19th century. This is where Gruber lived when he added the melody to the words of Joseph Mohr's poem, thus creating the world's best-loved Christmas carol.
Next door, in Maria am Moesl Church, you can see the recently restored pipe organ which Gruber played during church services.
The Silent Night Carillon plays the original Gruber melody, and can be heard across the countryside.

Gruber Museum and Maria am Moesl Church

SALZBURG

H-G-D-S

Joseph Mohr spent his childhood at 31 Steingasse, in Salzburg where the location of his birthplace is not known at this time. His mother Anna Schoiber was a knitter and his father Joseph Franz Mohr was a soldier from the southern province of Lungau. He attended elementary school in the city and was a musician in many of the church choirs and orchestras.

31 Steingasse

HALLEIN

M-H-G-D-S

Franz Xaver Gruber was appointed choirmaster in Hallein, just south of Salzburg, in 1835. While living here, he continued to write music and during his lifetime produced numerous Masses, carols, and hymns. The Franz Gruber Museum is located in the apartment where he lived with his family. One room displays furniture belonging to the family, along with two of Gruber's keyboard instruments. The modern exhibition hall contains a complete insight into the origin of Silent Night. You can view an arrangement of the carol, handwritten by Gruber, along with Joseph Mohr's guitar, believed to be the instrument used for the premier performance of the carol in Oberndorf in 1818. Gruber's grave is near the entrance to the museum

Church in Hallein

Gruber Museum

WAGRAIN

H-G-D-S

Although this charming Alpine ski village, 65 km south of Salzburg, has no museum dedicated to Joseph Mohr, the church where he served as pastor is popular with tourists. The parish house where he lived is nearby and his grave, in the churchyard, is often visited by pilgrims and decorated with a Christmas tree each December. You don't have to be a skier in order to ride the cablecars for a magnificent view of the entire area.

Church in Wagrain

MARIAPFARR

H-G-D-S

This is the village, 110 km south of Salzburg, where Joseph Mohr lived at the time he wrote the poem "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!" While he served at the pilgrim church, he could visit the nearby home of his grandfather, which is now a designated historical site. Magnificent works of liturgical art can be viewed in the church as you examine the continuing fresco restoration.

Pilgrim church in Mariapfarr

CODE
M - museum
H - hotel
G - guesthouse
D - dining
S - snacks or light meals

The author of this page
has been awarded the
Gold Medal of Honor
of the Republic of Austria

(Goldene Verdienstzeichen)
by President Thomas Klestil
for his "Silent Night" research.






Copyright William C. Egan, 1998-2005

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