Castle Arnoldstein (Klosterruine Arnoldstein)

Location: Carinthia  Map

Constructed: 11th century


Open: May 2- July 10

Mon- Fri: 8am- 12pm


July 11- Sept 9

Mon- Tue: 8am- 12pm

Wed- Fri: 8am- 5pm

Sat- Sun: 11am- 5pm


Sept 14- Sept 30

Mon- Fri: 8am- 12pm


Description of Castle Arnoldstein


Arnoldstein Abbey is a former Benedictine monastery (OSB) in Arnoldstein in Carinthia.



Arnoldstein Castle
Arnoldstein Castle was first mentioned in a document in 1085/90. It was named after its builder Arnold, who was probably a Bamberg ministerial, but is not mentioned in any other documents.

On the occasion of his coronation as emperor on February 10, 1014, Henry II transferred possessions in the area of ​​today's market town of Arnoldstein - among others in Carinthia - to the diocese of Bamberg, which was only founded in 1007. Under the Bishop of Bamberg Adalbero (1053-1057), the Eppenstein vassals were bishops' property. They did not return the property to Adalbero's successor and fortified the transition to the Canal Valley by building a castle in today's Arnoldstein. It was only after the turn of the century that Bishop Otto von Bamberg succeeded in bringing the estate back into the diocese's possession.

Benedictine monastery Arnoldstein (1106–1783)
In order to protect the property from secular access from then on, Bishop Otto von Bamberg founded a Benedictine monastery on Arnoldstein in 1106. He had the castle razed and converted into convent buildings. He gave the monastery 155 Huben as an economic basis. The first recorded abbot was Ingram (1126). Until then Arnoldstein seems to have been only a priory. In 1126 the cemetery of the monastery was consecrated. The other few pieces of news about the convention describe the problems with the bailiffs. Since the lords of Ras, among others, abused their position of power as patrons, the Carinthian duke took over the bailiwick in 1176.

Harvest failures, an infestation of locusts and finally the earthquake of January 25, 1348, which caused a massive landslide in the Dobratsch, brought the monastery into economic difficulties. The possessions of the monastery, the church and the village of St. Johann were buried by the rock fall. Despite the restoration, which is documented by documents up to 1391, the population declined, probably also under the influence of the Europe-wide plague epidemic. In 1391 the Patriarch of Aquileia handed over the parish of Hermagor to the monastery as compensation for the economic problems. Despite further donations, endowments and privileges, the Convention was not able to settle its debts. In the 15th century, the Arnoldstein monks had difficulties looking after the parish of Hermagor, and even a closed settlement could not remedy this. In the course of this dispute, the first documented Carinthian witch trial took place in the district court of Grünburg in 1465. According to a long-standing tradition, the monastery was pillaged by Turkish Akıncı before the Battle of Villach, but there is no historical evidence of this. Then in 1495 the abbot Christoph Jakob Fugger and his brothers allowed the construction of a Saigerhütte and a castle, from which the Fuggerau developed. Abbot Friedrich was still complaining in 1507 about the dilapidated condition and poverty of the monastery. In the course of the Reformation in the 16th century the monastery was on the verge of ruin. As a result of the royal Turkish taxes, neglect of pastoral duties and quarrels with nobles and subjects, the reputation of the monastery was weakened. Lutheran preachers, contrary to the mandates of the Bamberg bishops, occupied the monastery and Thörl and sat in the neighboring castles. So in 1570 Abbot Petrus, despite all the trepidation, made a commitment of 2,500 guilders in installments in order to (re)acquire the Fuggerau with all reasons and rights, since a transfer to the neighboring (Protestant?) nobility was prevented after the decline in mining wanted to.

In 1580, Arnoldstein Abbey did not have an abbot for a short time. According to a visitation report by the archpriest in 1594, the Franconian Johannes Pünlein, appointed in that year, led a thoroughly secular life. He said mass once a year, had only one monk by his side, all his staff were Protestant, the church had no candles or vestments, and the altar was unadorned. His successor, also a Franconian, Abbot Emerich Molitor could not fulfill the hopes of the diocese of Bamberg for re-catholicization. The monastery suffered damage of around 60,000 guilders as a result of embezzlement. In a bull of Archduke Ferdinand II dated April 12, 1600, the monastery was to be attached to a Jesuit college set up in St. Veit. The bishop of Bamberg was finally able to avert this by pledging contributions to the planned Jesuit college. After the free election of Abbot Daniel in 1630, the monastery flourished until the great fire in October 1642. In the short upswings of the monastery that followed, investments were made in the building and the furnishings. With the dissolution of the Patriarchate of Aquileia and the sale of Bamberg's goods to the Austrian state in 1759, the monastery was now directly subordinate to the sovereign.


From the dissolution of the monastery to today
In 1782, Emperor Joseph II decided to abolish all Austrian monasteries that did not contribute to nursing or the education of young people. Originally he wanted to abolish the monastery of St. Paul im Lavanttal, but the court authorities convinced him that the abolition of the Arnoldstein monastery would cause less damage. On November 24, 1783, the monastery was abolished by court decree. Abbot Otto von Größing and the 18 priests were free to move to another monastery or join the secular clergy. The assets of the foundation and the realities were transferred to the state administration. The monastery library came to what is now the University Library of Klagenfurt (until 1971 the Klagenfurt Study Library). A part of the monastery archives went to the Historical Society for Carinthia and is now in the Carinthian State Archives in Klagenfurt. The rooms of the monastery were now used by the state property administration, some tenants and, until 1854, the elementary school with teacher apartments. With the administrative reforms of 1848, the former monastery served the k. k. Forest administration, the district court with tax and land registry office, the notary's office and the office of the municipality of Arnoldstein as accommodation. A fire on August 16, 1883 destroyed the building's roofs and wooden ceilings. However, due to unwillingness to raise funds for the restoration, the monastery has been in ruins since then.

In the course of the acquisition of the monastery grounds by the municipality on May 14, 1980, the Revitalization Association for the Arnoldstein Monastery Ruins was founded.

Building description
The monastery church of St. George was first mentioned in 1316. The choir, some buttresses and the tower with the west portal are still recognizable.

The monastery buildings, built in the Gothic style and in the 17th century, were arranged in an oval around the church. The inventory of finds so far dates mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries. The baroque gates are inscribed with the years 1677 and 1718.