Today the Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche serves as a venue for concerts and events. The Minorite Church in Krems-Stein is one of the oldest mendicant order churches north of the Alps. Learn more about the history of the Klangraum here. 
The monastery was reportedly founded in 1224: hence, still in the lifetime of Francis of Assisi (1181/82–1226), the founder of the order; in the same year as the founding of the Viennese Minorite monastery; and it is said to be owed to an endowment by King Andrew II of Hungary. 
The Early Period of the Minorites in Austria
Despite the caution that the traditional foundation dates have to be dealt with, the appearance of the first “Friars Minor” (fratres minores) in Austria under the rule of Duke Leopold IV (hence before 1230) is certain. The rules of the Franciscan order, centred around a life in poverty and humility, were confirmed in 1223 by the Pope (in a diminished form). Unlike other similar religious reform movements, which had increasingly emerged since the eleventh century and revolted against the feudal attitude of representatives of the official church, the followers of Francis of Assisi’s tenent were not persecuted as heretics: Integration into the community of the church seemed wiser than combating them. Despite initial oppositions and some failures, the order spread out to the south and north of the Alps within a short period of time. Following the monastic foundations in Vienna and Stein, many other places like Tulln, Graz, and Linz soon followed already in the first half of the thirteenth century.
The Consecration of Saint Ulrich’s Church
The oldest written record mentioning the existence of a Minorite monastery in Stein dates from the year 1253: The house superiors of the Minorites in Stein appear in a deed of Ottokar II of Bohemia. In 1264 Bishop Berthold of Bamberg dedicated the late Romanesque, three-aisled pillar basilica (now the nave of the church) to Saint Ulrich.
The Nave
The clear and simple design of the interior of this church, which lacks a transept and has a general ambiance rooted in Romanesque architecture, corresponds with the original purpose and task of a church for a preaching order. The centre aisle of the three-aisled basilican nave features arcades with six pointed arches on both sides. Each aisle has a sequence of six bays with cross-ribbed vaults. The church initially had a wood ceiling, which (as one of the first churches of the order) was soon replaced with a sexpartite Gothic rib vault. 
The Choir
Various endowments in the early fourteenth century – such as those by Agnes von Kuenring (1302), Frederick the Fair, or Queen Elisabeth of Hungary (1328) – facilitated further extensions of the building. Around 1330 construction started on the three-bay, light-flooded choir in the style of the early High Gothic period, which is shifted slightly to the south off of its middle axis. The reason for this shift was likely that a building was situated on the northern side, which was taken into account during the construction of the new choir. In this way, the choir attains the character of an independent chapel, which originally was on the same level but separated from the main nave by barriers or rood screens. The addition of the crypt with its stage-like structure, as it still exists today, only took place in 1754, likely in connection with the endowment of a new high altar. This elevation change is often found in later additions of Baroque altars. 
The Frescoes
In 1950-51 the late Gothic paintings on the walls and vaults of the Minorite Church were uncovered and restored. Given the simplicity of the church interior, a greater figurative decoration does not seem likely, in earlier periods either. The graceful angels playing music, which float in the vault of the choir, and the depiction of the Virgin Mother on her throne with child and donor figures at the peak of the triumphal arch date from around 1400. Noteworthy are also two works by an Italian master from around 1350: the painting of Christ Crucified on the northern wall of the choir and the Man of Sorrows figure in the main nave. They are clearly an expression of late Middle Ages mysticism, which regarded the Imitation of Christ, even on a physical level, as a fundamental Christian virtue. Francis himself demonstrated the Imitatio Christi up to the limits of identification, including the stigmata. In 1982 fragments of a crucifiction and lamentation scene from around 1300 were uncovered in the room located to the east of the northern aisle.
The Vestry Chapel and the Chapter House
Still today, the crypt leads to a Gothic vestry chapel. Originally, the small chapter house on a lower level from around 1300 could also be accessed from here (today via the cloister).
The Tower
Instead of a ridge turret, as was common for mendicant orders, a slim tower was erected to the south of the choir – likely in conjunction with renovation works after damages during the Hussite Wars (1425–31) and because of a flood in 1440. Later it was furnished with a Baroque onion-shaped spire.
The Monastery
The building in its current form – a three-storey, four-winged structure around an almost square courtyard – originates from the eighteenth century, integrating a few components from the late Middle Ages and the seventeenth century.
Unusual Usages
In its long history the church was used in a number of unusual ways. During the Reformation (sixteenth century) it served as a salt warehouse, for example, and was returned “nicely dressed and white-washed” to the Minorites in 1592. After the dissolution of the monastery and the secularisation of the church in 1796, its interior furnishings were removed. In 1850 the tobacco factory in Stein installed a tobacco goods storage there. Later the nave served as an equipment depot for the Stein volunteer fire department. From 1951 the restored church building was frequently used as a space for special exhibitions of art and cultural history, such as “Romanesque Art in Austria”, “The Gothic Period in Lower Austria”, “1000 Years Krems”, or “Francis of Assisi”. The Kunsthalle Krems started to present exhibitions in the Minorite Church in 1992, but also music projects and classical concerts took place there. The incorporation of the church in the NÖ Festival und Kino GmbH (2002) and the ensuing comprehensive renovation of its interior and exterior enabled a decisive expansion in programming. A completely new heating system (floor heating and convectors, ventilation) as well as professional event technology (lighting and audio) with flexible stage machinery were built in and essential acoustic improvement measurements were carried out.
Today the Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche serves as a venue for concerts and events and the presentation of sound art. Outdoors, a glass pavilion was added to the southern side aisle as a main entrance foyer.

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