The Admont Abbey Library, Austria.

Beautiful libraries never fail to make me cry (or at least tear up). I think this is due to what they represent. To me, they symbolize a respect for knowledge that often seems to be forgotten. Libraries centered around books give the pursuit of knowledge a visible and high honor that we cannot give due to the evasive, intangible nature of thought. Acquiring knowledge leads to the expansion of ourselves, the expansion of our empathy, of our trust, and of our self-confidence. Knowledge is important; Broadening it is the most sure path to a more compassionate world, and a more confident inner faith.

Few words are needed to describe this Benedictine monastic library in Austria. Please enjoy – I know Bryan and I enjoyed our two leisurely hours here.

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This understated monastery is surrounded by rolling green hills and farmland.
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The Admont Abbey Church.
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This is the largest monastic library in the world.

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Many of the books are reproductions, but the white and brown spines were an intentional part of the oringal library aesthetics.

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The library was built in 1776.
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The white and gold decor of the library are representative of Enlightenment Art. They symbolize the enlightenment that comes through seeking a deeper knowledge about God.
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The murals on the ceiling were each symbolic – one contained a variety of virtues and vices, another the twelve disciples, among others.

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The library is organized into seven sections (topped by seven ceiling frescoes). Each section recognizes an area of knowledge. The center of the library contains Scripture, then theology, and science / medicine / literature on the outermost cupolas. I love the symbolism and also the unspoken implication that arts and sciences point to Scripture and faith.
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A hidden staircase (truly hidden … we had to ask an attendant to show us how it works!).

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In 1865, much of the original monastery was destroyed in a fire, but the library was preserved.

With the highest recommendation (and a few tears),
Shannon

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5 thoughts on “The Admont Abbey Library, Austria.

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