The Largest Monastery Library In The World

Located on the Enns River in the town of Admont, Austria, is a Benedictine monastery known to be the oldest remaining monastery in Styria – the Admont Abbey.

The abbey, with the its location on the borders of the mountainous Gesäuse National Park, offers unusual scenic beauty on the outside. Inside? It offers so much more! Admont Abbey contains within its walls the largest monastic library in the world.

The Admont Abbey itself was completed in 1074, and the library in 1776. It was commissioned by Abbot Matthäus Offner (reigned 1751-1779) and was built by the Graz Master Builder Josef Hueber (1715-1787).

The library hall boasts of exquisite Baroque architecture. It has an overall length of 230 ft, width of 46 ft, and height of 36 ft divided into three chambers that is “a repository of the knowledge gleaned down the centuries.”

The library’s ceilings are adorned with seven frescoes which were completed by Bartolomeo Altomonte over the summer months of 1775 and 1776.

“The frescoes depict the steps in ‘man’s exploration of thinking and speaking from the sciences to Divine Revelation in the central cupola’.”

The sculptures in the library are the works of master Baroque sculptor Josef Stammel. The most famous ones is the group of four oversized presentations of Death, the Last Judgement, Heaven and Hell, better known as The Four Last Things.

Of course, this won’t be library without the books. Admont Abbey’s library collection comprises some 200,000 volumes.

“The most valuable treasures are the more than 1,400 manuscripts (the earliest from the 8th century) and the 530 incunabula (early printed books before 1500).”

For lovers of art, architecture, history, and of course books, Admont Abbey’s library is absolutely a must-see!

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