About 20 km north of Salzburg in the village of Oberndorf, the Silent Night Chapel (German: Stille Nacht Kapelle) marks the place where the beloved Christmas carol "Silent Night" was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818. From a small parish church in Tyrol, this simple Christmas carol conquered the world. To this day it has been translated into about 300 languages and dialects around the globe.
History of Silent Night Chapel
It was at the Romanesque parish church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf that the Christmas carol "Silent Night" was first performed in 1818. The story goes that Joseph Mohr had composed "Silent Night" as a poem in 1816, then on Christmas Eve 1818, Franz Xaver Gruber composed a melody to go with it.
The two creators were the first to perform it: Mohr sang tenor and played guitar, while Gruber sang bass. The reason for the guitar, and indeed for the performance of the song itself, is said to be that the organ was not working that night.
The following year, the song had become part of the repertoire of the Tyrolian musician families Rainer and Strasser. They eventually toured Europe and North America - bringing "Silent Night" to Leipzig in 1832 and to New York in 1839.
The rest is history. The song became a favorite Christmas carol for Catholics and Protestants alike, and it has been translated into as many as 300 different languages and dialects.
The Silent Night Memorial Chapel, which stands on the original site of the St. Nikolaus Church, was consecrated on August 15, 1937, after 13 years of construction.
With permission from the Visitors Bureau of Oberndorf, a full-sized replica of the original Silent Night Memorial Chapel was erected on the grounds of BRONNER'S CHRISTmas WONDERLAND in Frankenmuth - a Germany theme park in Michigan - in the 1970s.
What to See at Silent Night Chapel
The Silent Night Memorial Chapel is a tiny white chapel in the community of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, just outside the city. Next door is the pink vicarage where Joseph Mohr lived in 1817-19 and there is also a museum on the history of the song.
Festivals and Events
Each Christmas Eve at 5pm, a memorial service in honor of the creators of the Silent Night carol takes place in front of the Silent Night Memorial Chapel. Thousands of people from around the world attend this ceremony and sing "Silent Night" in many languages at the conclusion of the ceremony.
More information about the Christmas ceremony, as well as guided Silent Night tours (including Oberndorf and Arnsdorf) are available at the Oberndorf Tourism Office. There you can also buy CDs, videos, books and souvenirs related to "Silent Night."
Quick Facts on Silent Night Chapel
|Silent Night Chapel · Silent Night Memorial Chapel · Stille Nacht Kapelle
|Visitor and Contact Information
|47.945556° N, 12.936443° E
|Stille Nacht Platz, Oberndorf, Austria
Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria
|49/8682 99 20 (Oberndorf Tourist Office)
|View hotels near Silent Night Chapel
- Silent Night, Holy Night: Stille Nacht Kapelle Oberndorf - Visit Salzburg
- Silent Night Society (Stille Nacht Gesellschaft): History
- Silent Night Museum
- Photos of Silent Night Chapel - here on Sacred Destinations
Map of Silent Night Chapel, Oberndorf bei Salzburg
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