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Benedictine Convent of Saint John

Benedictine Convent of Saint John

Benedictine Convent of Saint John at Müstair, Switzerland

The Benedictine Convent of Saint John, also called the Abbey of Saint John, is located in bucolic Müstair, Switzerland. This quaint Swiss village is a unique destination and home to a majority of speakers of the Romansh language.

The Convent was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, offering examples of Carolingian art, and the well-preserved heritage of the Carolingian (from the reign of Charlemagne and his heirs) era. The art includes Early Middle Ages frescoes, Romanesque frescoes, murals, and other historical architecture. The frescoes include Biblical scenes from both the Old and New Testament, and are fine and rare examples of art from the important Carolingian period from around the year 800. These frescoes are created in varies hues of reds and browns.

Other significant art in the 8th century Benedictine Convent of Saint John includes the stucco statue of Charlemagne, and a relief of the Baptism of Christ in the Romanesque style, created in 1087. A tower stands near the church. It is believed to have been inhabited by an abbess. You can see her furniture still in the tower. The adjoining cemetery evokes an eerie feeling, but Müstair has its own charm to allure you.

Another remarkable place in the church is the residence of Bishop Norbert located in the northwest quarter of the complex. It is embellished with frescoes and stucco-work of the 11th and 12th centuries. The convent houses a small museum exhibiting Carolingian carvings and Baroque artworks. There is a small gift shop that provides income to the nuns.

Presently, the Benedictine Convent of Saint John is used by nuns and local residents as a place of worship. There are nine rooms for accommodating guests. Visitors who stay at the church dine with guests in the convent’s dining hall.

Benedictine Convent of Saint John Map


Facts about Benedictine Convent of Saint John

  • The convent was probably constructed around the year 780, and the church tower was added in the 10th century.
  • The Bishop of Chur, acting for Charlemagne, founded the building for the Benedictines.
  • The tower home, cloister, and chapels of St. Ulrich and St. Nicholas were added in the 11th century.
  • The establishment became a convent in 1163.

Where is Benedictine Convent of Saint John?


Saint John Abbey is located in Müstair, which is part of the Graubüendn Canton (Valley of the Grisons) in Switzerland, in central Europe. Müstair holds the easternmost point of Switzerland, right near the borders of Italy and Austria. A bus runs from the Swiss National Park to the convent for day visits.

Best time to visit Benedictine Convent of Saint John


Müstair is a rainy city, particularly in August and May, with February as one of the driest months. This destination is a popular stop-over for vacationers on a ski trip in the Alps, so winter is a common time to visit.

Benedictine Convent of Saint John Hours

The Benedictine Convent of Saint John is open year round. The visiting hours frequently change, so you need to either call them or email them to know the current opening hours.

More on Benedictine Convent of Saint John


Nearby Attractions: Museum and Butia, Swiss National Park, Clastra S. Gian, Klostermuseum Müstair, and Gemeindeverwaltung Müstair.


Photo By Snoopturtle (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Published On: Monday, December 16th, 2013