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Convent of St John in Müstair

Testament to the golden age of Christianity

UNESCO World Heritage property since 1983

The convent of St. John in Müstair is testament to the golden age of Christianity around 800 and is a cultural heritage of humanity over the ages. It is much more than a monument; it is a living cultural treasure. Today the nuns continue to live in accordance with the monastic rule of St. Benedict, following the motto “ora et labora et lege” (pray and work and read).

The fact that the entire convent complex – and not just the church – was placed under protection has proved to be farsighted. The most important cycle of mural paintings from the Early Middle Ages and the Romanesque frescoes are world famous. In addition in the church there is the oldest, once colourfully painted, monumental statue of Charlemagne. Thanks to archaeological investigations further sensational discoveries have been made. The Chapel of the Holy Cross was thought to be from the Romanesque period, but it has turned out to be a Carolingian architectural and artistic treasure. The Planta Tower was not built, as originally thought, by Angelina Planta at the end of the 15th century; it had already served as a fortified residential tower in the 10th century. In the field of fortress research it is without parallel. Large parts of the 11th century bishop’s residence still remain; this includes the delightful two-storey chapel of St. Ulrich and St. Nicholas.

Many years of archaeological investigations have resulted in an understanding of the structural development of the convent complex and continue to provide a constant source of new knowledge and astonishing results.