Not only is Benedictine Admont Abbey the largest monastic library in the world, it's also Styria's oldest remaining monastery, containing extraordinary examples of baroque architecture, manuscripts and decor.
The sculptures in the library were created by baroque master Josef Stammel. These two, representing heaven and hell, are part of a four-part series that also includes death and judgment.
The abbey was built in 1074 but the library wasn't commissioned until 700 years later when Abbot Matthäus Offner commissioned it from Austrian baroque master, Graz Master Builder Josef Hueber. The library would be remembered as Hueber's most significant work.
Seven frescoes by painter Bartolomeo Altomonte adorn the library's ceilings.
The frescoes were painted between 1775 and 1776 when Altomonte was 80 years old.
According to the library's center of research, the paintings represent the seven steps in man's exploration of thought, ranging from scientific inquiry to divine epiphany.
The details of the library's shelving and sconces are all done in classic baroque style.
The monastery has over 200,000 books, 70,000 of which are housed in the library.
Of the 14,000 manuscripts, some of the earliest date back to the eighth century.
The library's collection of 530 incunabula contains examples of some of civilization's earliest printed works, dating back to before the 1500s.
The library's 48 windows provide natural light and reflect the white and gold color scheme throughout.
Admont Abbey and the abbey library is closed for the winter, but it is open to visitors from March 24 through December 31.
Credit: Twisted Sifter