On the trail of the eternal carol
In 170 languages the Christmas carol “Silent Night, Holy Night“ is today sung around the world - for almost 200 years now. For many it is a surprise to learn that perhaps the best known Christmas carol comes from the Salzburger Land. The priest Joseph Mohr wrote the text and Franz Xaver Gruber composed the famous melody.
Seven Silent Night resorts in the Salzburger Land are closely connected with both of the autors. Joseph Mohr was born in Salzburg and spent his childhood here too. North of Salzburg lies the village of Arnsdorf where Franz Xaver Gruber lived. In the originally retained school house one can now find a museum. Also the pilgrimage church where Gruber played the organ is a popular visiting place.
The next port of call in the Silent Night story is the town of Oberndorf. Here the well-known Christmas carol was sung for the first time in the church on Christmas Eve 1818. Joseph Mohr was the priest and Franz Xaver Gruber was a teacher. Yearly more than 50,000 guests visit the resort north of Salzburg to see the Silent Night Museum in the Bruckmannhaus as well as the Gruber-Mohr memorial chapel
Between the years 1827 to 1837 Joseph Mohr was vicar in the small village of Hintersee which was his first parish on his own. The inhabitants of Hintersee at this time suffered from great poverty and so Mohr borrowed money from the collection box of the church in order to obtain meat from local poachers so that the poor could have some meat. The generous heart of Joseph Mohr almost put him in prison but fortunately this never happened. The priest´s habitat as well as some original exhibits from his term as priest are now to be seen in Hintersee.
Joseph Mohrs last journey was to Wagrain. This was his last place of work until 1848. Today his grave is to be found in Wagrain as well as the Joseph Mohr memorial organ in the parish church. In the Karl Heinrich Waggerl Haus one room in the museum is dedicated to the life and work of Joseph Mohr.
The resorts of Mariapfarr and Hallein also have connections to the famous poet and priest and offer the attraction of the Silent Night Museum Mariapfarr as well as the reconstructed living parlour of Mohr and the Silent Night Museum Hallein.