RS muestair kloster st johann
RS muestair kloster st johann

Saint John Abbey in Müstair

2 km away from Tubre in the Val Monastero valley, already on Swiss territory, there’s a famous World Heritage site.

When you follow the road from Tubre (Taufers im Münstertal), the most western municipality of South Tyrol, 2 km further towards west, you are already in Switzerland, more precisely in Müstair. This village is famous for the St. John Benedictine Abbey - “Kloster St. Johann in Müstair” in German, “Monastero di San Giovanni a Müstair” in Italian. The monastery was founded in 775 AD by Charles the Great, King of the Langobards, after he escaped a blizzard. In the middle of the 12th century, St. John became a nunnery. In 1528 the Convent Church, dedicated to John the Baptist, was made the Müstair Parish Church.

In this Convent Church, the Swiss scientists Robert Durrer and Joseph Zemp discovered in 1894 gorgeous Carolingian frescoes from the first half of the 9th century, under myriad layers of other paintings. The frescoes conduced educated monks to delve into the message of salvation. Above the vault, scenes from the life of King David (Old Testament) can be seen, furthermore numerous scenes from the New Testament can be found. The life of Jesus is shown starting at his childhood until his return at the Last Judgment. One scene sequence was brought to the Swiss State Museum in Zürich in 1908/09, the other frescoes were exposed with help of the nuns between 1947 and 1951. The Church of the Holy Cross, a Carolingian jewel, however, was restored in 2018, and is now open to the public again (on certain dates).

In 1969, the Pro St. John Abbey Foundation was founded in Müstair to save the frescoes from ruin. Still today, nuns live in the complex - in the meantime declared a World Heritage site - and offer a spot of ease and reflection in their guest house. Some of the Romanesque pictures from 1200 can be seen in the Convent Museum, located in the Planta Tower, a more than 1,000 years old fortified residential tower. 12 centuries of convent, architectural and art history can be discovered. Acheological findings and cultural-historical treasures and jewels can still be admired, as well as the cloister, the convent cellar, reception and living areas and the beautiful Baroque “Hohenbalken Chamber”. And how to reach the Saint John Abbey in Müstair? Is is located along the state road, a parking space can be found on the opposite side of the road. Also the PostBus Switzerland (Zernes - Malles) stops directly across from the building.

Winter opening hours - museum: from November 2019 to April 2020
from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to noon time and from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm
Sundays and public holidays from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm
closed on December 25

Summer opening hours - museum: from May to October 2020
from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm
Sundays and public holidays from 1.30 pm to 5 pm

Admission - museum:
12.00 CHF (approx. 11 Euros, adults), free for kids under 6 years
6.00 CHF (approx. 5.5 Euros, children and young people from 6 to 16 years)
8.00 CHF (approx. 7 Euros, students and apprentices from 16 years)
combined visit museum and Convent Church possible

Winter opening hours - Convent Church: from November 2019 to April 2020
from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to noon time and from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm
Sundays and public holidays from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm
closed on December 25

Summer opening hours - Convent Church: from May to October 2020
from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to noon time and from 1.30 pm to 5 pm
Sundays and public holidays from 1.30 pm to 5 pm

Admission - Convent Church (guided visit):
10.00 CHF (approx. 9 Euros, adults), free for kids under 6 years
5.00 CHF (approx. 4.5 Euros, children and young people from 6 to 16 years)
8.00 CHF (approx. 7 Euros, students and apprentices from 16 years)
combined visit Convent Church and museum possible

Further information:
phone: +41 81 8516228, visit-museum@muestair.ch

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