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I Was Today Days Old When I Learned This About the Sound of Music Church


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I was today days old when I learned something interesting about the Basilica of St. Michael in Mondsee, Austria.  That's the church that was featured in the wedding scene in the Sound of Music.  Namely that there are five jewel encrusted skeletons encased in the altar.

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In fact, the most famous “resident” of this relic-filled altarpiece, the skeleton of Abbot Konrad II, was actually hidden from view by a statue during the filming of the wedding scene. Never fear though, since you can visit the famous Mondsee Abbey Church in person and see these decorated skeletons and other relics in person. The insanely ornate seven-part altar is designed as a giant reliquary, holding entire skeletons for all to see. Konrad was killed in 1145 defending the monastery from noblemen who wished to repossess the land. His jewel-encrusted skeleton now sits with a golden halo a top the altar. 

Konrad is not alone in the gilded altar either. Entombed beneath him are the remains of four so-called “catacomb saints,” lying in relaxed poses upon red satin pillows in their little triangular chambers. In addition to the massive, main altar there also a series of smaller altars lining the chapel walls. While these do not hold such grim relics, but they are decorated with lovely paintings.   

I went back and watched the wedding scene again.  As they said Konrad is behind a statute and the two lower skeletons are hidden behind candles and flowers but the top two are clearly visible as the camera pans upward at the altar.  I just never realized the altar had all these skeltons inside it.  Probably a good idea to hide the skeletons as much as possible during filming since it would have creeped people out to see them in the film.

Edited by Coconut Flan
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