Travelers who are visiting Austria might be initially uninterested in adding something like a library to their list of places to visit, and, really, who would blame them? With this country being such a hub of culture and history, there's almost too much to see without adding a library to the list. However, Admont Abbey isn't just any library, and it's not your average room full of books. It's a Baroque-Gothic masterpiece, and that's not even including its 1,000-year-old history.
It's not required that one become a book lover in order to appreciate the beauty and drama in this library's architecture and decor. The history within its walls is enough to lure one to visit, but it's the humbling experience of walking through these grand library doors that really wins the heart of every traveler.
What The Admont Library Is Known For
Admont Abbey is one of the most beloved and precious landmarks in Austria even though it's not the sole reason people visit this beautiful country. The Benedict Abbey of Admont was first constructed in 1074, and it remains today as one of the oldest remaining monasteries in the country.
It was erected by the Archbishop of Salzburg and was home to the monks from St. Peter's Abbey, which wasn't far from the original monastery. Interestingly enough, the abbey served several purposes throughout its lifetime. It was once a girl's convent before it became a Scriptorium, in which scholars wrote great theological works within the very halls that are open for tours to this day. Therefore, walking through Admont Abbey is not only a historical experience but a humbling one, as well.
The Architecture Of The Abbey
Typically, hearing the words 'Gothic' and 'church' or 'cathedral' together is fairly common. Many religious buildings that were constructed during the 17th century had Gothic features such as steeples and towers, complete with dramatic sculptures and awning decor that instantly gave away the style of the building. Admont Abbey is a bit different, however; while many of its features are Gothic, they're also in the Baroque style, which is not something that many would think of when it comes to a monstery. The normally humble, less-lavish walls of a monastery are a stark contrast to the stunning works of gold and marble set against dramatic white shelves and walls. It's truly a breathtaking room and is so much more significant than just its elaborate cosmetic features.
The design of the library was by none other than Wilhelm Bücher, who created its neo-Gothic appearance. Some may have figured out by now that the date of the monastery's original construction - 1074 - simply does not compute with its much later, 17th-century architecture. More than five centuries later, the original monastery saw a fire that destroyed most of its original construction.
Therefore, it fell to Bücher to recreate a building that served the same purpose - but it was entirely updated. This accounts for the fact that the Admont Abbey library is still the oldest monastery library in the world, but with an entirely different appearance than it once had.
Significant Features And Facts About The Library
Admont Abbey is home to the world's largest monastery library. Its size is evident from the moment visitors walk through the door as the open room beckons visitors to its ancient shelves and to peer at its incredible painted ceilings.
Admont Abbey Library Facts
- Dimensions: 230 feet long, 46 feet wide, 42.6 feet high
- Sacred Texts: More than 20,000
- Significant Feature: The intricate frescos that adorn the ceiling
It's tough to figure out what to look at when entering the library for the first time. The gold-adorned shelves, walls, doors, and windows are likely the first thing that catches a visitor's attention. The room, itself, commands attention, though - as books are stacked high to the second floor, where even more shelves are stacked right to the ceiling.
The entire room is chic and full of Baroque features, including its dramatic window archways and intricate window treatments. The ceiling is home to an incredible work of fresco art, which tells an intriguing story. The artwork depicts human knowledge, from the understanding of thought and speech to the arts and sciences, according to Culture Trip. Expertly carved sculptures also appear throughout the room, drawing the eye even further into its sacred walls.
Visiting The Abbey
- Hours: Daily, 10 AM - 5 PM
- Admission Cost: For museums & exhibitions, tickets are € 12,50 for adults, € 11,50 for seniors, and € 7,50 for children (group, family, and handicapped pricing are also available)
- Address: Admont Abbey, Stift 168, Admont, Austria