The Enlightened architect wanted to make the room exude light, Source: © Marcel Peda, Admont Monastery

Visitors can now explore the Baroque marvel of Admont Abbey Library at night

Visitors can now explore the Baroque marvel of Admont Abbey Library at night

The world’s largest monastic library was built with light in mind, so at night, it will be viewed with lanterns

The Admont Abbey in Austria is now offering night tours of its library. Equipped with lanterns, visitors will be able to experience the giant Benedictine marvel of baroque architecture in a more romantic atmosphere.

The first guests of the night tour came on 29 July and, starting August, the Abbey will allow night-time guests into the library every Thursday after 9 PM.

Like the mind, the room should also be filled with light

The library in the Admont Abbey is the largest monastic library in the world, with its hall measuring 70 metres in length, 14 metres in width and 13 metres in height. It has 70,000 tomes on display, with a total collection of 200,000.

Some of the most valuable books are the manuscripts from the 8th century and the 530 incunabula, books or pamphlets printed before the 16th century. St. Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg gifted the oldest books to Admont's founder - Archbishop Gebhard, who settled here in the mid-11th century.

frescos The surreal frescoes of the library,
 Source: © Marcel Peda, Admont Abbey

The library's builder was  Josef Hueber who completed his opulent Baroque opus in 1776 after 12 years of construction. He was also committed to the ideas of the Enlightenment, as he interwove these concepts into the design itself.

Consequently, the main idea for the library was “Like the mind, the room should also be filled with light”. This is why the room is so bright and the ceilings so tall, giving an overall airy feeling.

Bartolomeo Altomonte, a painter and equally enlightened mind, was responsible for the ceilings and frescoes. The images show the stages of human knowledge, from thinking and speaking through the sciences to divine revelation in the central dome.

One of the 'Four Last Things' - Death,
Source: © Marcel Peda, Admont Abby

The Abbey’s own sculptor – Joseph Stammel, on the other hand, carved the sculptures from lime wood. The most striking ones are the “Four Last Things” – depictions of Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell, standing in stark contrast to the architect's design in celebration of light.  

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