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Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Publisher Jacqueline Church Simonds sent me a link to the Admont Benedictine Library, which is not just the largest monastery library in the world, but perhaps the most beautiful.  A masterpiece of baroque architecture, it has occasionally been called the eighth wonder of the world.

Trawling through the site, I learned a great deal.  Founded in 1074, this library boasts a massive three-volume Bible, created around 1070, and more than 1400 glorious illuminated manuscripts.  The white shelves hold thousands of precious old books, while the vaulted ceilings above are daintily decorated with frescoes painted by Bartolomeo Altomonte over the years 1775 and 1776.  There is also fine arts museum (full of religious works, of course) and a natural history museum, which includes a collection of wax fruit.

What the website did not tell me was where I must go to view this very special library.  My only guess at its geographical position was that it is somewhere in Austria.

Further delving told me that it is on the River Elms in the picturesque little town of Admont, and has a spectacular setting on the edge of the Gesause National Park.  More than that, I cannot tell you.  Admont isn't even in my atlas!


Shayne Parkinson said...

That library is astonishing!

Some delving on the Web told me that it's about 100 km south-east of Salzburg. Google Maps shows the area in fine detail.

World of the Written Word said...

Many thanks, Shayne! A couple of hours or so from Salzburg sounds very accessible, and naturally spectacular. I wonder if one can get there by boat ....