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Via Spiritualis - Auf den Spuren der Leobener Kirchen

Nature Trail · Erzberg Leoben
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Tourismusverband ERZBERG LEOBEN Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Leoben
    Photo: BüKo, CC BY-ND, Stadt Leoben
m 555 550 545 540 535 4 3 2 1 km
The theme trail Via Spiritualis - On the traces of the churches of Leoben is located in the ERZBERG LEOBEN region.
Distance 4.6 km
1:16 h
51 m
37 m
555 m
538 m
Hardly any other city, in relation to its size, can boast such a variety of Christian cultural and architectural history as Leoben. The Via Spiritualis leads you to some of the most beautiful churches, which are within walking distance. The location of Leoben's churches has a special feature - they are situated on two axes in the shape of a cross. But not only their position is special, but also each church has its own charm and treasures and offers something very interesting for art lovers. In addition, they offer wonderful opportunities for retreat and reflection in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Author’s recommendation

Visit the downtown shopping center LCS, built in a former Dominican monastery - you will hardly find such an excellent combination of old and new anywhere else!

Also take advantage of the Old Town Walk or walk along the Way of the Cross to Calvary Church!

Profile picture of Ute Gurdet
Ute Gurdet 
Update: March 23, 2022
Highest point
555 m
Lowest point
538 m
Best time of year

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Safety information

Planning your desired tour properly in advance is a must.


Emergency call rescue: 144

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Tips and hints

Tourismusverband ERZBERG LEOBEN 

Tourist office

Hauptplatz 3

8700 Leoben

Phone: +43 3842 481 4 810 


Evangelical church - Jahnstrasse 1 (540 m)
47.385750, 15.092270
47°23'08.7"N 15°05'32.2"E
33T 506964 5248036
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Göss Abbey - Turmgasse 4

Turn-by-turn directions

We begin this themed trail at the Gustav Adolf Lutheran Church.


The Viennese architect C. Kattner designed the building, which was executed in 1908/09 by the Leoben architect Titus Thunhardt. The cross ground plan with galleries on three sides is oriented inside towards a pulpit altar. With its tower it effectively closes the visual axis of Franz Josef Street. The cross floor plan with galleries on three sides is oriented towards a pulpit altar in the interior. The Viennese architect C. Kattner designed the building, which was executed in 1908/1909 by the Leoben architect Titus Thunhardt.


We continue along Franz-Josef-Strasse - through the Josefee district - the path leads past the University of Leoben and the historic town houses towards the center.

At the end of the street we reach the main square of Leoben, here we turn right and see the facade of the parish church of St. Xaver from far away.


The Leoben parish church of St. Xaver (former Jesuit church) dominates the entire old town of Leoben in its imposing early Baroque form in height and extent. A continuous restoration since 1993 saved the magnificent church interior with its unique furnishings. The church has been the seat of a parish only since 1811 and is still the only one in the area of the historic old town. Built according to the plans of Peter Franz Carlone from 1660 to 1665 as a church of the Jesuits of Leoben (college since 1613). Four-bay nave, cross vault. The imposing two-tower front based on the model of the Jesuit church in Vienna. Splendid effect of black-gold cartilage carving. Magnificent pulpit 1665 - 1670. High altar dated 1670, altar leaf 1669 by H. Schönfeld. Apostle figures on consoles in the nave by Ägydius Meixner. Romanesque crucifix of unclear origin around 1220 - 1230. In the western sacristy aisle figured gravestones for Veit v. Zollner (died 1547) and Bishop Johannes von Zollner (died 1545).


When we leave the church and walk around it, we walk along the Kunsthalle Leoben to the Stadtkai, here we keep to the right until we come to the Waasen bridge. Here we see the Schwammerlturm - the landmark of the city of Leoben and walk through the Mautturm straight ahead, past the city theater until we arrive again at the main square of Leoben. We learn more about the numerous historical buildings during the walk through the old town. But we keep to the right, cross Krottendorferstraße and go through the row of houses through a public passage. Now the park Glacis is in front of us, we cross it and come to the Eggenwald garden house (where the preliminary peace of Leoben was signed by Napoleon). From here we can already see the Jacobi Church, which is located at the foot of the Maßenburg.


The church of St. Jacob was first mentioned in documents in 1188. Romanesque at its core, rebuilt and expanded in the Gothic period around 1500, there was another reconstruction and the baroqueization of the chancel in 1771. The tower was built in 1743-45. Walking through the church, one finds numerous art treasures from the 17th and 18th centuries, such as a Baroque painting of St. Philip Neri and pictures of St. Mary and St. Joseph in beautiful Baroque carved frames. Also worth seeing is the magnificent pulpit by the Baroque sculptor Matthäus Krenauer, which was created around 1740.


The altar of the cross is an early baroque shrine from the 17th century. There are 8 figures of saints from the same period in the choir, above the simple altar base is a late Gothic seated figure of St. James the Elder from around 1520 in a splendidly carved acanthus frame (around 1700). Several very old gravestones are witnesses of history.


The cemetery, which was abandoned in 1887, today presents itself as a park-like complex with a multitude of graves and monuments of great artistic and cultural historical value as particularly beautiful examples of the last resting places of wealthy citizens of Leoben. Several of these testimonies are gradually being restored. In front of the entrance to the church is the Jacobi Cross (a monument donated in 1512 with sculptures from the late Gothic and Baroque periods). - Only the entrance area is open to the public, if you are interested, please call 0043/(0)676/87-426-590 Fr.


We leave the church grounds and follow the Dreihufeisengasse until we reach Gösserstraße, now we keep to the right and can already see the Redemptorist Church. Some steps lead up to the entrance of the former monastery church.


The church of St. Alphonsus of Liguori dates back to one of the more recent church foundations in Leoben. It was not until 1837 that the first Redemptorist Fathers settled in the city of Leoben. In 1846 the foundation stone for the church in Gösserstraße was laid. But it was not completed until 1860, after the Redemptorists had fled the city during the revolution of 1848. The neo-Romanesque building towers high above the banks of the Mur. The single-towered west façade is particularly imposing. The interior of the church is dominated by wall paintings. The church was built according to the plans of the Viennese architect Alois Haberkalt and the Judenburg master builder Ciaro. The architecture is clearly neo-Romantic and neo-Renaissance, while the interior is strongly neo-Gothic.


The high altar (1860) comes from the church Maria am Gestadt in Vienna. Behind the high altar the whole apse is gilded and in its center he is painted church patron, St. Alphonsus. The artist, Professor Scholz, makes the visitor look up into the sky. One sees the Savior Jesus Christ, next to him his mother Mary and St. Joseph, below St. Alphonsus in his transfiguration. The altar of Mary (the left front side altar) with the representation of the "Immaculate Virgin Mary" was made by the brothers Hans and Leopold Titl. On the altar there are the statues of St. Anne and St. Joachim and a very beautiful picture of the Sacred Heart.


Now we continue - we go around the church and cross the river Mur - from here we have a view of the two churches we have just visited. Immediately after the Mura, we walk down the small footpath to the quay. We keep to the left on the quay, passing under the road bridge. On the left side is the vicarage of the Waasenkirche and to the right of it is a small path that leads us to the park area of the church.


The parish church Maria am Waasen is the historical center of the suburb. According to an unconfirmed tradition, a chapel was already built here around 1149. In 1160 a priest is mentioned for the first time and the church is documented beyond doubt. The parish church underwent numerous changes as a building. The choir (around 1400) and nave (around 1483) are essentially Gothic. The well-proportioned organ loft, carved entirely in house stone, bears the date 1487. The two-bay choir towers considerably above the nave. The late Gothic reticulated ribbed vaulting of the nave has heavily distressed paintings of vines and flowers and angels from the late Gothic period.

The baptistery and workday chapel to the north of the choir cannot be precisely determined architecturally, but could be the remains of a medieval predecessor of the present Gothic church. The recently examined fresco remains already point to the 16th century. However, the sacristy south of the choir and its adjoining rooms were built at the same time as the choir around 1400. The exterior of the church is essentially determined by the regotization by the Graz architect Hans Pascher from 1900 - 1901.


After a walk through the church, we return to the Marekkai, which leads us along the Mur River to Göss, where we reach Göss Abbey - probably the most historic ecclesiastical building of the Via Spiritualis - after a beautiful 20-minute walk.


Göss Abbey was founded around the year 1000 as the first Styrian monastery. Monastery. It was settled by the Benedictines from Nonnberg i nSalzburg. In 1782 it was abolished by a decree of Emperor Josef II. It is also significant that Göss was the bishop's seat for fourteen years and its own diocese for seventy-three years - until 1859. The only bishop, Count von Engl and Wagrain, resided in the monastery of Göss near Leoben, where a cathedral chapter was also established.


With its architectural and artistic treasures, the monastery is still one of the most interesting cultural and historical sights in the city of Leoben. You can visit the old collegiate church and St. Michael's Chapel, which is a Romanesque building in the jagged style and decorated with murals depicting the Song of Solomon. Another object in the possession of the parish is the so-called "Josephine coffin", a coffin that could be reused to save wood by folding it downwards, leaving only the body wrapped in linen in the tomb, the coffin was reused.


From the former parish church, the then St. Andrew's Church, the bell and clock tower still stands today. St. Andrew was and is the patron saint of the former parish church and also of the new collegiate church. The altarpiece above the high altar is also from the former parish church. Before the abolition of the monastery there were, according to researchers, about 17 bells in the monastery. Today there are still some to be found, the oldest from the 15th century. The early Romanesque. Crypt, about 1000 AD and the bishop's chapel can be visited only during guided tours of the monastery. Besides, there is a possibility to visit the roof truss in summer.


Now we conclude the tour on our Via Spiritualis. There are still more sacral buildings and churches in the city area, but some of them are not on the direct way. For example, the pilgrimage chapel Maria Kaltenbrunn, the parish church of St. Joseph in Leoben/Donawitz, the Calvary Church (on Calvary) - or the "younger" churches such as the "Holy Spirit Church" in Leoben/Lerchenfeldor the "Holy Guardian Angel Church" in Leoben/Hinterberg.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

ÖBB train station Leoben. Return from Hieflau with ÖBB trains; via Selzthal in the direction of Leoben.

From the end of the tour at the monastery Göss you can easily return to the center with the buses of the public utility Leoben.

Timetables and travel information can be found directly at: Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB), Steiermärkische Landesbahnen (STLB), 

With the BusBahnBim app of the Verbundlinie, timetable information has never been easier: all bus, train and tram connections in Austria can be queried by entering locations and/or addresses, stops or important points. The app is available as a free app for smartphones (Android, iOS) - on Google Play and in the App Store 


Getting there

Coming from Graz on the A9 exit St. Michael ob Leoben and on the S 35 to Leoben > direction Zentrum (city center)

Coming from Vienna on the S 6 to Bruck an der Mur and Leoben > direction center


You can find detailed information about parking here.


47.385750, 15.092270
47°23'08.7"N 15°05'32.2"E
33T 506964 5248036
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


Proper backpacking makes many things easier: Pack heavy things first. The water bottle should always be within easy reach in a side pocket. All things that are often needed, such as sunglasses, camera or hiking map, belong on top. An emergency kit including blister plasters belongs in every rucksack and it is always advisable to put on different layers of clothing.

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4.6 km
1:16 h
51 m
37 m
Highest point
555 m
Lowest point
538 m
Cultural/historical interest


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