1528: Convent church
becomes parish church
Müstair remains faithful to the Catholic Church
Abbess Barbara von Castelmur had to brave the plague and the challenges of the Reformation. She pledged the population of Müstair the use of the convent church as parish church in perpetuity. A ballot was held, in legendary circumstances, the outcome of which was that Müstair was the only village in Val Müstair that remained catholic. The bell tower, built in 1530, marks this event.
Church tower built in several stages
The first three floors of the tower were built within four years, whereas the bell chamber came 50 years later. Today’s belfry was erected in 1644. There are four bells in the tower; the two smallest bells were made shortly after the battle of Calven, in 1504, and are the oldest bells in the valley. The largest bell was made in 1558, followed by the fourth bell 107 years later. Ringing of the bells is now programmed electronically. The sound of the bells ringing may strike the first-time listener as rather original due to the unusual order in which the chord is rung.
Church tower, church and Planta Tower: an unmistakeable silhouette
The flat gabled roof and the proportions of the church tower lead us to believe that the tower was never completely finished. It is a cliché that nothing lasts longer than a temporary solution.
Today the church tower, the apses of the convent church and the adjoining Planta tower with its swallow-tailed merlons form the landmark silhouette of St. John’s Convent in Müstair.