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Gurk (Austria) Vacation Travel Video Guide

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In the southernmost province of Austria, hidden in a valley, is the village of Gurk that boasts one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Europe. When Wilhelm The Second died, he left his wife, Countess Hemma Of Friesach, many fiefdoms, making her one of the richest women of her time. She had a church and women’s monastery built in Gurk on a site that in Pre-Christian times contained a temple.

The side walls are decorated with magnificent wall paintings that date from 1340, with an extensive juxtaposition of scenes from both the Old and New Testaments. These Gothic frescoes tell the story of the bible in a lively visual language, each one in the style of the Middle Ages, in order to vividly illustrate the contents. The sacred building overwhelms with its many altars in a characteristic black and gold setting.

Beauty, size and age enchant with a biblical flood of images. Covering eighty nine square metres there are a hundred and eight themes in ninety nine illustrated sections.
The high altar fascinates the viewer with its fifteen metres of height and seven and a half metres width, a masterpiece by Michael Hönel from Saxony.

The most magnificent side altar of the crypt is the altar of Mary, in the northern side corridor. The reason for the construction of this monumental crypt was meant
to represent an important centre of pilgrimage.

Only after 1626 did the need for Baroque renewal arise. Thus both emotion and theatricality came to the fore. It was not until 1850 that numerous old paintings were rediscovered.

Gurk Cathedral was visited by the Pope in 1988.

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