GLANZ & GELEHMSAMKEIT - The largest monastery library in the world... A baroque synthesis of the arts

 

In a time of superlatives, the Abbey Library of the Benedictine Abbey of Admont - known in earlier times as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" - ranks as the largest monastic library hall in the world. 

This claim is based on its spatial dimensions and not on the 60,000 books stored there. The hall is 70 metres long, 14 metres wide and over eleven metres high up to the top of the vault (over twelve metres in the middle room). 48 windows provide the necessary light, twelve more windows are hidden behind the bookcases. It is the light that makes this majestic room with its impressive size a hall of openness, enlightenment and a liberalist spirit. In addition to the light, it is the colours that give the room its incomparable appearance: the white of the shelves, the gold in the decorations and ornaments as well as the bronze-coloured sculptures and carvings - a masterpiece of late Baroque, designed by the architect Joseph Hueber.

The shell of the room was completed around 1776; the most important artists involved were Bartolomeo Altomonte (ceiling frescoes) and Joseph Stammel (wooden sculptures). The arrangement of the books in the large library room still corresponds to the well thought-out organisation concept that was developed when the room was completed. The collection was divided into subject groups, which can still be recognised today by the Latin inscriptions on the cartouches on the large bookcases.

Admont Abbey - Library - Children together in the library© Thomas Sattler
Admont Abbey - Library - Children in the library© Thomas Sattler
Admont Abbey - the world's largest monastery library © Stefan Leitner
Admont Abbey - The Four Last Things by Josef Stammel
Admont Abbey - Museum - Children look at the library © Thomas Sattler
Admont Abbey - Library - Child with children's book about the library © Thomas Sattler
Admont Abbey - the world's largest monastery library with family © Thomas Sattler
Admont Abbey - Monks in the monastery library © Stefan Leitner
Admont Abbey - The Four Last Things by Josef Stammel
Admont Abbey - Monks in the monastery library © Stefan Leitner
Admont Abbey - The Four Last Things by Josef Stammel
Admont Abbey - Monks in the monastery library © Stefan Leitner