Silent Night Chapel, Oberndorf bei Salzburg

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.

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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

Site Information
Names:Silent Night Chapel · Silent Night Memorial Chapel · Stille Nacht Kapelle
Country:Switzerland
Categories:churches
Dates:1937
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:47.945556° N, 12.936443° E
Address:Stille Nacht Platz, Oberndorf, Austria
Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria
Phone:49/8682 99 20 (Oberndorf Tourist Office)
Email:stillenacht.oberndorf@gmx.at
Lodging:View hotels near Silent Night Chapel
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

References

  1. Silent Night, Holy Night: Stille Nacht Kapelle Oberndorf - Visit Salzburg
  2. Silent Night Society (Stille Nacht Gesellschaft): History
  3. Silent Night Museum

More Information

© Kim Davies
© Kim Davies

Map of Silent Night Chapel, Oberndorf bei Salzburg

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