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Fahr Monastery, (German: Kloster Fahr) is a Benedictine monastery of nuns located in the Swiss municipality of Würenlos in the canton of Aargau. Located in different cantons, Einsiedeln Abbey and Fahr Monastery form a double monastery, ruled by the Abbot of Einsiedeln. Fahr and Einsiedeln are perhaps the only such community still to exist. [17]

Geographical and administratively special situation

The monastery historically was located in an exclave of the canton of Aargau within the municipality of Unterengstringen in the canton of Zürich in the Limmat Valley. The nuns' monastery had not been part of a political municipality, although some administrative tasks have been carried out by the Würenlos authorities since the 19th century and the nuns were always allowed to fulfill their political rights (voting, etc.) in Würenlos. Since 1 January 2008 Fahr Monastery has been a part of Würenlos. The nunnery has its own postal code, 8109 Kloster Fahr.


The monastery is first mentioned in AD 1130 as Vare (an old term used for "ferry").

From the very beginning, the nunnery has been ruled by the Abbot of Einsiedeln; the nuns are governed in their daily life by a prioress appointed by the abbot. The bailiwick rights were first held by the Regensberg family, after 1306 by the citizens of the municipality of Zürich, and from 1434 to 1798 by the Meyer von Knonau family.

Around 1530 the monastery was suppressed during the Reformation in Zürich, but it was reopened in 1576.An era of prosperity during the 17th century led to a brisk program of construction: In 1678 the tavern Zu den zwei Raben ("Two Ravens", the emblem of Einsiedeln Abbey) was built; from 1685 to 1696 the cloister and church tower were renovated; in 1703/04 a new refectory was designed by Johann Moosbrugger; and a house for the chaplain was erected in 1730/34. From 1743 to 1746 the monastery's church was decorated with frescoes by the Torricelli brothers.

In dissolving the old County (Grafschaft) of Baden in 1803, the cantons of Zurich and Aargau established an exclave of Aargau within the canton of Zürich, for the former lands of the monastery.

During World War II, from November 1943 to February 1944, 11 female Jewish refugees lived secretly in the cloister; unfortunately they had to leave for an unknown destination when the school was opened.

On 1 February 1944, the monastery established a Bäuerinnenschule, i.e. an agricultural school for women.

On 1 January 2008 the monastery was incorporated into the municipality of Würenlos, happening over a century after the municipality's initial attempts to absorb the 1.48-hectare area of the monastery.

On 22 January 2009 the former Abbot of Einsiedeln, Dom Martin Werlen, O.S.B., presented the nuns a new community seal, thereby indicating that the nuns were in full control of the business affairs of their monastery.

End of 2014 the women's agricultural school (Bäuerinnenschule) had to close for financial reason.


As of April 2010, there were 26 nuns (7 in 1873, 33 in 2000) living at the monastery.

On 23 April 2016 the Silja-Walter-Raum was inaugurated.

On memorial of Saint Wiborada – the first (Swiss) woman who was ever canonized by the Roman Catholic Church – on 2 May 2016 started a two months pilgrimage of eight respectively seven Fahr nuns from Wiborada's former home St. Gallen to Rome; the project group Kirche mit insists on more rights for the Catholic woman. Along their 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) travel to the Vatican, the group of pilgrims was accompanied on stages by other women right's activists. [2] [3] By mid-May 2016 around 650 people (approximately one fifth men) joined for at least one day's stage, and there are 400 more registrations for the final section of the pilgrimage in Rome. [4] Whether the Pope will grant an audience to the group of pilgrims on 2 July, the day of the Visitation, was uncertain; actually he then should be on vacation. [2]

Cloister garden

Sister Beatrice Beerli (born 1947) has the responsibility over the monastery gardens for over 20 years.

Activities and points of interest

Viticulture played, for centuries, an important role in the monastic culture.

Agricultural products made by the nunnery also include liquors and honey, and a variety of other products among them fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. The monastic community sells its products in a shop (from Monday to Saturday) situated in the monastery and provides a restaurant (from Wednesday to Sunday) in the former pilgrim's hostel, built in 1678 AD.

The monastery was also renowned for its agricultural school for women (Bäuerinnenschule) that was established in 1944, but had to be closed in January 2015 for economical reasons and because the few nuns were no longer able to ensure the high quality of the 20-weeks courses for young women.

From spring 2016, the rooms of the convent are also opened for civil marriages which performs the Zivilstandsamt Wettingen on Friday afternoons from May to September: Abtstube for up to 10 people, and the Vier Jahreszeiten room for up to 20 people, regardless of religion, creed and nationality.

For tourists, Fahr Monastery is a highlight in the Limmat Valley and a popular stop for hikers and bikers along the Limmat. [14]

Cultural Heritage

Kloster Fahr is listed in the Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance as a Class A object of national importance. [18]


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