Admont Abbey

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Admont Abbey, view from the southeast
View of the Admonter Münster tower
Interior of the minster

The Admont Benedictine Abbey , officially the Benedictine Abbey of St. Blasius zu Admont ( Latin Abbatia Sancti Blasii Admontensis OSB ), is located in the market town of Admont in Austria . It was founded in 1074 by Archbishop Gebhard von Salzburg , making it the oldest existing monastery in Styria . It is at the entrance to the Gesäuse National Park . The monastery has the largest monastery library in the world and a modern museum, presenting baroque and contemporary architecture, art from the Middle Ages to the present day, a natural history museum, early manuscripts and prints, special exhibitions and other offers.


With the possessions of the Holy Hemma of Gurk founded Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg in 1074, the Benedictine monastery Admont. For centuries the monastery has not only been the religious center of Upper Styria , but also a center of art and science. In 1120 a women's monastery was attached to the monastery based on the Benedictine Rule , which was dissolved again during the Reformation. A scriptorium founded in the 12th century left behind unique manuscripts. As part of the organization of Styria, the Admont Abbey had an important function in favor of the sovereigns in 1292 through its abbot Heinrich II, the supporter Duke Albrecht I and the associated aristocratic revolt of the Landsberger Bund .

Abbot Engelbert von Admont (r. 1297-1327) was one of the most universal scholars of his time. His scientific work includes more than 40 large and small treatises. After a decline caused by the Turkish wars and the Reformation , the Counter Reformation under Abbot Johann Hoffmann brought the abbey a new upswing. Since 1459 the monastery was allowed to raise taxes independently by a deed from the Lords of Pranckh .

In the 17th and 18th centuries, artistic activity reached a high point with the work of the art ticker Frater Benno Haan (1631–1720) and the sculptor Josef Stammel (1695–1765). The fire in 1865 had devastating consequences, which destroyed almost the entire monastery apart from the library, including the organ built by Franz Xaver Krisman in 1782. Reconstruction began a year later, but the relevant construction plan was only partially implemented.

The Great Depression of the 1930s brought the pen to the brink of bankruptcy and forced it to sell art treasures, including the Admonter Madonna (made around 1310). During the Nazi era , the monastery was closed and the property was confiscated. The convent had to leave its religious house and could only return after the end of the war.

Admont Abbey is known today for its diverse spiritual, religious and cultural activities.

The Admont Benedictines

The Benedictine Chapel

Ora et labora et lege - “Pray and work and read”. With these words the rule of the order of St. Summarize Benedict of Nursia . He is concerned with a harmonious rhythm between active work (craft), prayer (the community comes together several times a day for choral prayer ) and time for his own studies (spiritual reading, studying science and source texts, etc.).

Since the founding of their abbey, the Admont Benedictines have lived and worked according to this order for over 900 years. The 21  monks are under the direction of the freely elected chief, Abbot Gerhard Hafner since 2017 . They meet several times a day to attend the common choir prayer and St. Celebrating Mass. In addition to church services, religious service is a special obligation.

The Admont Abbey currently looks after 27 parishes, operates a collegiate high school with around 650 students and a nursing home in Frauenberg. Around 500 people are employed in 16 commercial enterprises. The constant commitment of the monastery to science and art is reflected in the new museum. The principle of St. Benedict: “Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus! - So that God may be glorified in everything! "

Collegiate church

The collegiate and parish church of Admont, dedicated to St. Blasius , was rebuilt by the architect Wilhelm Bücher from Graz as the first church in Austria to be built in the neo-Gothic style after the great fire in 1865. A solemn consecration took place on September 12, 1869 under Abbot Zeno Müller. The building - a basilica nave with a single-nave choir and western portal porch between two strong, 73 and 74 m high towers, a landmark of the Admont Valley  - has a rich artistic interior, including pieces from the earlier inventory that were spared during the fire in 1865.

The church has 13 neo-Gothic altars. It houses, among other art treasures, Romanesque wall paintings, a late Gothic crucifix by Andreas Lackner , an old copy of the Gothic statue of the Admonter Madonna , the baroque altarpieces by Georg Bachmann (St. Barbara), Martino Altomonte (Maria Immaculata), Martin Johann Schmidt called Kremser-Schmidt as well as the baroque Admont Christmas crib by Josef Stammel. In the second left side chapel is the altar of the donor, St. Hemma from Gurk .

Seven bells hang in the belfry of the two towers, cast by the St. Florian bell foundry. The best known is probably the largest, the Blaserin , whose sound can be heard throughout the valley.

Library and museum

In addition to a late baroque library, the Admont Benedictine Abbey has been home to a large museum since 2003, which extends over four floors in two wings. The exhibits include medieval manuscripts and early prints, art from the Middle Ages to the present day as well as a natural history collection. In addition, a multimedia pen presentation, special exhibitions and a panoramic staircase are offered.

The library and museum wing are embedded in the spacious monastery complex with its garden architecture. They open up views of the impressive backdrop of the Gesäuse landscape and the nearby national park. Admont Abbey library and museum have around 60–70,000 visitors annually.

Pen library

Admont Abbey Library

The abbey library, which was completed in 1776 , was known in the past as the “eighth wonder of the world”; it is the world's largest monastic book room. The structural concept comes from the architect Josef Hueber , the ceiling frescoes by Bartolomeo Altomonte , the sculptural decorations by the sculptor Josef Stammel. The whole concept is exemplarily under the sign of the Enlightenment : light was equated with knowledge and should flow through the monastery library.

The book hall houses around 70,000 copies, the entire book inventory of the monastery comprises 200,000 volumes. These include over 1,400 manuscripts, some of them medieval, as well as almost 1,000 hand-printed incunabula and early prints.

The works are also exhibited as selections.

naturehistorical Museum

naturehistorical Museum

Since the Baroque period there has been a so-called “Musaeum” in Admont Abbey with natural objects and all kinds of rarities.

Abbot Gotthard Kuglmayr founded a natural history cabinet in 1809 . This predecessor of the Natural History Museum was destroyed during the fire in 1865.

From 1866 Father Gabriel Strobl followed his order to rebuild the destroyed museum. In the following 44 years the hardworking father devoted himself to this work. If he was a botanist in his first work , he later devoted himself to insect research and became one of the most important researchers of his time. The Natural History Museum holds a total of around 252,000 specimens of insects and is particularly famous for its collection of flies: with around 80,000 specimens, this diptera collection is one of the three most important in Europe.

In the course of the redesign and reopening of the museum, part of the museum was left in its original historical state: In the lion room and the southeast pavilion , exhibits from local and exotic fauna as well as a collection of rocks and minerals can be seen.

Another part of the collections is presented in a modern ambience and in partly new showcases, such as the insects and reptiles, as well as the wax fruit collection by P.  Constantin Keller .

Art History Museum

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Admont Abbey

The Kunsthistorisches Museum was founded in 1959 by P. Adalbert Krause. Since 1980 it has been substantially expanded, housed in the rooms of the old prelature and gradually redesigned. This museum has existed in its current form since 2003. It contains important exhibits from the Romanesque to the Rococo , paintings , sculptures and objects from the church treasury .

An impressive selection from the parament collection ( liturgical textiles ) , which changes every year, is presented in large showcases . These include the Gebhard miter (end of the 14th century), stained glass from the 15th century and the splendid ornaments from the embroidery workshop of Brother Benno Haan (1631–1720), from which world-class textile art has emerged.

The most important exhibits include: a portable altar by Bishop Albrecht von Sternberg (1375), the Gebhard staff with ivory snail (12th or 13th century), an abbot's staff with narwhal tooth (around 1680), as well as canvas paintings by Martin Johann Schmidt , known as Kremserschmidt (1718– 1801), Martino (1657–1745) and Bartolomeo Altomonte (1694–1783).

A separate room is dedicated to the monastery sculptor Josef Stammel (1695–1765).

The last room behind the picture gallery is available to contemporary artists for room installations.

Close to Heaven - Mayer Collection

Mayer Collection, Medieval Art, Museum in the Admont Abbey

Under the title “Near Heaven - Mayer Collection”, 85 medieval sculptures, panel paintings and glass paintings from the Mayer Collection are shown in the pillared hall. The selection of late Gothic works combined in this exhibition ranges from the “Beautiful Madonnas” (around 1400) to Niklaus Weckmann from Ulm and the South Tyrolean master Hans Klocker from Bressanone.

Museum of Contemporary Art

The Admont Abbey has been continuously building up a contemporary art collection since 1997. It currently includes works by over 150 mostly Austrian artists of the younger and middle generation. This ever-growing collection consists of two parts: purchases and commissioned art.

As part of the “Made for Admont” program, artists are continuously invited to the monastery. This gives rise to ideas for site-specific works of art, most of which are also realized, purchased and exhibited. The works of art created in this way give the Admont Abbey collection its very specific character. A number of artists ( Judith Huemer , Rudi Molacek , Lois Renner , Erwin Wurm ) have created important series for the Admont Abbey at the invitation of the Admont Abbey, especially in the field of photographic art.

The collection also includes larger groups of works by selected artists, such as Herbert Brandl , Alfred Klinkan  (1950–1994) and the donation from Hannes Schwarz  (1926–2014).

In the Museum für Gegenwartskunst there are special exhibitions every year - in 2017 the exhibition "20 Years of the Contemporary Art Collection - Open the Link".

Austrian Museum Prize 2005

In 2005, the Museum of the Admont Abbey was awarded the Austrian Museum Prize, which is awarded by the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture. Federal Minister Elisabeth Gehrer sees the Austrian Museum Prize as an “award for the special achievements of an individual museum” as an “expression of the public's great appreciation for the museums in our country” and for their employees. The museum award honors the work done in the museum institutions. The jury's reasoning stated: “ The museum of the Admont Abbey has broken new ground far beyond what is usual in abbey museums ... The combination of modern art with old cultural assets, which sets unexpected accents in the exciting exhibition design, is particularly great. This is a new approach to dealing with and communicating contemporary art. This makes the museum of the Admont Abbey an example for other Austrian museums. "

Special collection "Beyond seeing - art connects the blind and the sighted"

Special collection Beyond Seeing - Art connects the blind and the sighted

One of the main focuses of the collection are the “Beyond Seeing” works of art , which are basically designed for visually impaired and blind people and are multi- sensory for the sighted. The first of this kind were commissioned in 2002. The “Beyond Seeing” works combine art and information .

Designed for the blind and visually impaired as well as for the sighted, they create levels of sensual comprehension that lie outside the visual world of experience. A sighted person sees such a station - at the same time always a visible work of art - very differently from how a blind person perceives it. For one, the visual character of the object can dominate, while for the other, the focus is on the haptic or acoustic qualities. A new approach to art can develop from the art encounters. An exciting process of "art sharing" takes place between blind and sighted people, which extends the boundaries on both sides.

The main purpose and task of the museum in the Admont Abbey should be to give visually impaired people access to current art. In the sighted, on the other hand, awareness of the completely different world of the non-seeing should be sensitized. The cooperation of representatives of art and culture , education , science , medicine as well as the blind and visually impaired on national and international level is important to the monastery . For this specific part of the collection, new works are created every year as part of the “Made for Admont” program.

Museum supporting program

  • Background information on the life and work of Saint Benedict and Admont Abbey can be experienced in three separate rooms in the multimedia presentation of the abbey from Linz's Peter Hans Felzmann .
  • From the three-storey panoramic staircase, wonderful views open up over the eastern monastery area with the garden pavilion (completed in 1661) in the convent garden, the Admont herb garden and the baroque extinguishing water pond up to the national park area with its Gesäuse mountains and the imposing Haller walls in the north.
  • Specific “Made for Admont” products and Dveri-Pax wines from the monastery wineries in Slovenia can be purchased in the monastery shop and in the flower shop.
  • The Admonter museum workshop, which is housed in its own premises, offers a constantly changing program for children and young people.
  • A visit to the abbey cellar, which was newly opened in 1996, marks the culinary conclusion of the Admont cultural tour. Modernly integrated into the historical building shell, it offers space for 400 people and has two panoramic terraces.

Abbots of Admont

Abbey parish churches

Commercial enterprises

Mühlau power station

Like other monasteries, the Admont Abbey runs its own businesses. This also includes small power plants. In addition to eight small hydropower plants, the Envesta subsidiary (Energieversorgung Stift Admont) also operates a biomass heating plant. With these power plants, of which the first was built in 1911, around 43 GWh of energy were generated in 2011 and thus supplied the households of four communities in addition to the monastery operations.


  • Gerald Unterberger: The Benedictine monastery in the 'current of time'. 100 years of monastic energy supply. From the first power station in 1911 to Envesta 2011. In: Da look here - The cultural magazine from the center of Austria , Verein Schloss Trautenfels, No. 1/2012.
  • Gerald Unterberger: From the Wunderkammer to the Natural History Museum. Collection and research history in the Admont Benedictine Abbey. In: Museum aktuell , Verlag Dr. Christian Müller-Straten, No. 180, Munich 5/2011.
  • Michael Braunsteiner, Christine Peters: Play Admont. Admont 2010.
  • Gerald Unterberger (Red.): Universe in the monastery. A guide to the monastery, its libraries and museums. Provincial Library Publishing House, Admont 2010, ISBN 978-3-900000-95-0 .
  • Michael Braunsteiner (Ed.): Baroque sculptor Josef Stammel 1695–1765. Admont 1997.
  • Michael Braunsteiner, Gerald Unterberger, P. Winfried Schwab, monastery guide. Admont 2006.
  • Bruno Hubl, Michael Braunsteiner: Admont. A photo portrait by Rudi Molacek. Admont 2003, ISBN 3-9501594-1-X .
  • Adalbert Krause: Admont Abbey. Kolorit , Vienna 1974, ISBN 3-85142-001-2 .
  • Rudolf List: Admont Abbey 1074–1974. Festschrift for the nineteenth century. Upper Austrian State Publishing House, Ried im Innkreis 1974.
  • Hannes P. Naschenweng: Admont. In: The Benedictine monastery and nunnery in Austria and South Tyrol (= Germania Benedictina . No. 3/1). edit by Ulrich Faust, Waltraud Krassnig, St. Ottilien 2000, pp. 71–188.
  • Hannes P. Naschenweng: Admont, women's monastery. In: The Benedictine monastery and nunnery in Austria and South Tyrol (= Germania Benedictina. No. 3/1). edit by Ulrich Faust, Waltraud Krassnig, St. Ottilien 2000, pp. 189–212.
  • Bernhard Sebl: possession of the "dead hand". Withdrawal and restitution of the assets of the Benedictine monasteries Admont and St. Lambrecht (= publications of the Styrian Provincial Archives. Vol. 32). Graz 2004.
  • Johann Tomaschek u. a .: Admont Benedictine Abbey. Sights and collections. Admont 1990.

Web links

Commons : Stift Admont  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 47 ° 34 ′ 33 ″  N , 14 ° 27 ′ 38 ″  E

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Stiftung Seeau, Pranckh zu Pux ( Memento from September 28, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Erbe und Arbeits , Vol. 93 (2017), p. 124.
  3. monks | Admont Abbey. Retrieved June 17, 2020 .
  4. Adalbert Krause, The Blasius cathedral in Admont. 1st edition, Linz 1967, pages 8-10.
  5. Made for Admont: On behalf of the abbot. Retrieved October 28, 2018 .
  6. Heidemarie Klabacher: Contemporary Art "made for Admont". Retrieved October 28, 2018 (German).
  7. bm: ukk - Austrian Museum Prize: Winner since 2000. Accessed on June 30, 2011 .
  8. Envesta , accessed on April 7, 2013.