The building activity of the late Baroque period brought about the enclosure of the monastery complex, which until then had been open on several sides, to the north, east and south.
Together with the early Baroque "old building", a total of six courtyards were created.
Until the fire of 1865, Admont Abbey was the largest monastery and also the most extensive structure in the whole of Styria. The fire primarily destroyed the older parts of the complex. Following the removal of the rubble and ruins, there essentially remained just one single large internal courtyard.
The design of the Abbey gardens has been repeatedly modified over the years. Originally thickly wooded, the garden site was first divided into an inner and outer section (by means of palings) in 1890.
The gardens next to the Abbey building are surrounded by a high wall. They were used to grow fruit and vegetables and as flower gardens until late in the 20th century. Special features are the two chapels (dedicated to St. Benedict and St. Blasius) that date to c. 1735. Karl Nutzinger, the Abbey’s master gardener, decided to extend the dahlia and fuchsia beds to the east and south in the 1960s and 1970s.
Old & New
In the inner and the more extensive garden sections of the Abbey, visitors will find that although historical elements have been preserved, it has been ensured that these interact meaningfully with contemporary features. This dialogue between ‘old’ and ‘new’ is particularly apparent in the ‘courtyard garden’ (convent garden) opposite the glasshouses of the plant nursery, the herb garden (which is an accurate recreation of an historical example) and the ‘invisible garden’ created in 2006/7 with both blind and sighted visitors in mind that stretches along the recreational area around the pond.
Antiquity to Baroque
There are further creative contrasts to be explored; between the restored Baroque sculptures by Josef Stammel in the two garden chapels, the four (restored) figures of the antique goddesses Ceres, Minerva, Diana and Flora by Markus Schokotnig dating to 1726 – 1719 that can be found near the Baroque steps to the Stiftskeller courtyard and the contemporary sculptures, most recently the large loaned sculptural work by Bruno Gironcoli (1936 – 2010).