Pongauer Dom - Pongau Cathedral

Sankt Johann's landmark

The Pongau Cathedral in Sankt Johann im Pongau

The Parish Church is named in honour of Saint John the Baptist and John the Evangelist

 

Chronicled as early as 924 AD this two-spired parish church with wooden Gothic statuary is Sankt Johann’s main attraction. Following the great fire of 1855, which reduced both the town and the church to rubble, the Pongau Cathedral, as it is known today, was rebuilt from the ground up (1855-1861). A number of Late-Gothic figures can be seen among the church's impressive Neo-Gothic altars. The church’s imposing site over the Salzach Valley and its majestic interior mark the building as a tour de force of Austrian church architecture.

Building History

The great fire of 1855 left the town practically impoverished. Only through the collected efforts of the Austro-Hungarian empire was the rebuilding of the church in 1857 made possible.

 

The working plans of Munich architect Schneider provided the inspiration for a single-spire Neo-Gothic church. Construction of the nave was completed in 1862 and eight years later, in the spring of 1870, work on the long-awaited spire finally commenced. There is some question as to the cause of the calamity that followed. Money from the religious community was flowing freely and anticipation for the completion of the spire was great. Unfortunately, the next phase of construction was rushed and the mortar was not given enough time to dry. Cracks in the walls developed causing the spire to collapse on June 22, 1871. Fortunately no one was injured in the event.

 

The Salzburg architect Josef Wessiken was then called to plan a double-spired façade. The “Pongau Cathedral” as it is known today, was completed in August of 1876. The church represents a monument of some importance to Wilheminian style architecture. Of particular significance are the church’s outer dimensions (60 metres long, 27 metres wide and 62 metres high), the rubble stone walls and the high three-paned window that floods the nave with light. Significantly, Wessiken recognized the needs of an urban community in his interesting reconstructive design for the Cathedral