The Convent of Poor Clares
From convent to granary
The Convent of Poor Clares was founded in 1289 by Leuthold I of Kuenring, who donated several buildings. The Poor Clares are the female branch of the minorites or Franciscans, founded by Saint Clare, a follower of Francis of Assisi.
In around 1330 a two-aisle church was built in the style of the High Gothic. Since the nuns were forbidden to say mass, hear confession or give communion, there were always male priests in the order to take care of these tasks.
The nuns lived in strict enclosure of course. Contact with the priests was kept to a minimum and the men’s and women’s living quarters strictly separated.
Although the convent was initially well equipped through donations, the Reformation and war contributions had such an unfavourable effect that the convent experienced considerable financial difficulties in the second half of the 16th century.
When the last of the Poor Clares died in 1571, the convent came into the hands of the Augustinian abbey. As part of the baroque restyling of the abbey under its provost, Hieronymus Übelbacher, the two-aisled Gothic church of the former Clarist convent was turned into a granary in the 18th century.
Provost Übelbacher financed the new building work and reconstruction of his abbey through trade with wine and cereals. The cloister of the former Clarist convent was also demolished and its rooms used for this purpose.
In the 19th century the property came into private ownership. It has been run by the Thiery family since 1880, who also own the former castle of the counts of Starhemberg, now a 5-star hotel.
The Richard Löwenherz Hotel and Restaurant is now located on the grounds of the former Clarist convent and is named after the English king Richard the Lionheart, who was held captive in Dürnstein Castle from December 1192 to March 1193.
Today’s Richard Löwenherz Hotel is a two- to three-storey complex consisting of three tracts around a courtyard, incorporating what was left of the convent partly demolished in 1693. The core of southeast wing with Gothic outer walls and buttresses, which was once used as a granary, dates back to the 14th century.
Supported by the Federal Province of Lower Austria and the European Union (LEADER)