The bells of the Salzburg Cathedral

Historical information

The cathedral bells were first mentioned in writing in 1127 due to a fire that was initiated by a failed bell casting in the city. The bells that were to be cast were intended for the cathedral.

During another fire in 1312, all the cathedral bells melted, according to historians, and, during a cathedral fire in 1598: “All six bells melted in the heat.”

In 1628, Wolfgang II (*Ulm 1575, + Augsburg 1632) and his son, Johann Neidhart (*Augsburg ~1600, + Frankfurt am Main 1635) cast five new bells, which were consecrated during the consecration of the new cathedral. Including a small bell from the year 1603, there were now six bells; one more was added in 1746. This peal of seven bells had a total weight of 10,640 kg and rang until 1917 and the confiscation of bells during the First World War, when three bells were removed.

For the 300th anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral in 1928, the bell collection was again returned to a total of seven bells, but in 1942, all new bells were again confiscated for the war.

The bells remained in the cathedral, two of which still ring in the cathedral today as part of the total peal. These two bells are among the most valuable percussion instruments of their time.

Consecration of the bells 24/09/1961
on the cathedral square

The new set of bells

The new set of bells

Only in 1961, after damages caused by bombing during the war were repaired and the cathedral reopened in 1959, could the cathedral bell collection again be renewed to the original total of seven. Five new bells were cast by the Oberascher (Salzburg) bell foundry and consecrated on St Rupert’s Day in 1961. Masters Schwindt and Sippel were the casters and builders. The Salzburg Cathedral bells are considered to be one of the most beautiful sets in Austria and the largest in the southern German-speaking region with over 32 tonnes total weight.

The cathedral bells:



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The cathedral bell collection contains the following musical categories:

 Large E-flat minor triad  ES - GES - B
 Large G-flat major triad  GES - B - des
 ‘Salve Regina’ category in G-flat   GES - B - des - es  
 ‘Te Deum’ category in B  B - des - es
 ‘Te Deum’ category in E-flat  es - ges - as
 ‘Exultet’ category in D-flat  des - es - ges
 ‘Parsival’ category in B  B - des -es -ges

Bell recordings