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The Granatkapelle

Granatkapelle Chapel at Penkenjoch

Granatkapelle chapel is located in the midst of the magnificent Zillertal mountain world on the sunny plateau of Penkenjoch. Uniquely, it combines the nature of garnet stones, which were previously mined in the Stillupptal, with local woods. The chapel is dedicated to Engelbert Kolland, a blessed figure hailing from the Zillertal.

The Granatkapelle chapel or "Capella Granata," as it is also called, was planned by Mario Botta. The architect from the Swiss canton of Ticino is particularly known for his strict geometric and simple form language. The interior is adorned with a mosaic portrait of the Blessed, made from five native woods by the sculptor Markus Thurner. Opposite the portrait is the icon image of the Mother of God of Kazan.

The chapel is a place of silence, introspection, devotion, and gratitude for all people, regardless of their religious affiliation.

The Granatkapelle is open only in the summer.
The opening hours correspond to those of the Granatalm.

Engelbert Kolland

Dedicated to the blessed Engelbert Kolland

Franciscan Father Engelbert Kolland was born on September 21, 1827, in Ramsau in the Zillertal. After joining the Franciscan Order in Salzburg, he was ordained a priest in the Cathedral of Trent. Another significant stage in his life was his assignment as a missionary to Jerusalem. Transferred from there to Damascus, he served as a pastor in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On July 10, 1860, after repeatedly refusing to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ, he suffered martyrdom. The beatification took place in 1926 by Pope Pius XI. As the second parish patron in Zell am Ziller, the subsidiary church in Ramsau, the parish church Ramsau, the soldier's church of the Belgian barracks in Graz, the Franciscan church in Salzburg and now also the Granatkapelle at Penkenjoch are dedicated to him.

Heart on the mountain

In 2004, the storage lake on Penkenjoch was built with a depth of about 11 meters and a capacity of over 70,000 m3. In winter, a lifeline for the snowmaking of the slopes, in summer, a peaceful oasis with a grandiose all-round view.

The heart shape of the lake was recognized due to chance during initial aerial photographs taken from a tandem paraglider.


Granatkapelle at Penkenjoch

The chapel gets its name from the semi-precious stone garnet, which - cut in the shape of a rhombic dodecahedron - is traditionally worn as jewelry with traditional costume in Zillertal. The design places the chapel on a rock outcrop that looks northwards onto the valley below. The south side of the chapel, on the other hand, faces the water surface of an artificially created mountain pond, which is used as a water reservoir for artificial snow in winter.

The building in the shape of a rhombic dodecahedron stands on a concrete base. The supporting structure is made of wooden walls, which are clad outside with Corten steel plates. The entrance to the chapel is located in the base floor, from here a staircase along the wall leads up into the prayer room. With a single glance, the clear and precise geometry of the interior can thus be perceived. Through the zenithal opening in the ceiling, light from above streams into the interior and enlivens the regular surfaces of the rhombs, which are laid with fine larch wood strips. The magic of this room lies in the continuity and the perfect geometric shape of the walls, which are identical, yet due to the varying incidence of light take on a different surface design.

The architect

Mario Botta - the architect of the Granatkapelle

Mario Botta lives and works in his birthplace Mendrisio in the Swiss canton of Ticino. He is one of the most renowned architects worldwide. After a first internship, he attended Art College in Milan and then began studying architecture at the University of Venice.

The beginning of his career around 1970 was marked by designing single-family homes in Lugano. This was followed by countless different types of buildings, such as museums, libraries, schools, and churches/chapels.

Botta's rationalist style consists of a strictly geometric, simple form language and elements like light and shadow. This combination makes the often very massive building bodies appear light and elegant. Some of his architectural works include the Tinguely Museum in Basel, the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, the city and regional library in Dortmund, and the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista in Mogno. The Granatkapelle is Mario Botta's first building in Austria.

After initial contact with Mario Botta in February 2011, a local inspection already took place in the summer. After the construction negotiation in 2012, the chapel construction began on 17.06.2013. On the baptismal day of the Blessed Engelbert Kolland, the 22.9.2013, it was solemnly consecrated. Since this day it has been a place of silence, introspection, devotion, and gratitude for all people, regardless of their religious affiliation.

The book about the creation of the Granatkapelle can be purchased for € 25,- at the Granatalm.

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