In 1666 Count Conrad Balthasar von Starhemberg (1611/12-1687), owner of Schönbühel Palace and extensive estates in the Dunkelsteinerwald and the Waldviertel, summoned the Servites to Schönbühel to build a monastery on the ruins of the rock known in the vernacular as the Devil's Palace. Conrad Balthasar is the father of Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg *), who made a name for himself as a defender of Vienna during the 2nd Turkish siege. This devil's castle was probably the remains of the walls of a medieval Danube observatory.
In the church a tomb-Christi chapel was built and below it a replica of the Betlehem grotto was erected.
In 1980 the Servite convent had to be abandoned due to a lack of priests. According to the foundation contract the monastery buildings were returned to the castle. Today the church serves as a parish church.
The church is dedicated to St. Rosalia (1130 - 1166, saint of the plague).
St. Rosalia was the reason for a pilgrimage to Schönbühel during the plague in the 17th century.
Behind the altar there are the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre and doors leading to the balcony of the church.
From there you have a wonderful view of the Danube.
Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria, later Empress Sisi, visited the monastery in 1844, and this scene is also re-enacted in the first part of the Sissi films. Our guide told us that she as a little girl stood here on the balcony and waved as the ship with Romy Schneider passed by.
In the choir of the narrow church on the left wall is this St. George, a painting by Schmidt from Krems.
In the passage next to the church hangs a small Mariahilf picture.
For comparison the original in Innsbruck
View into the courtyard of the former Servite monastery
Count Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg (1638 - 1701) was as Viennese city commander, the defender of Vienna during the Second Turkish Siege in 1683, and is buried in the crypt of the Vienna Schottenkirche (picture). His monument stands at the Vienna Town Hall Square.