Stift Melk - UNESCO-Welterbe

Abbey Library

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"Ex litteris immortalitas"
"Immortal through books"
Inscription at the western library entrance

The part of the library which is accessible during abbey visits, the main room and its adjoining room, was once the monastery’s complete library when it was set up in 1735. But already in 1768 it was enlarged by adding the “upper library”, the two so-called Bergl rooms which were made accessible by a spiral staircase from the adjoining room and are not included in the abbey visit. These four rooms, the original library rooms on the first floor and the “new” library on the second floor with a room for the scientific book collection and a room for the natural history collection, form Melk’s Baroque library. These convey a unique spatial experience for guests because of the representative decoration and array of books in a late Baroque ensemble.

Thus the visitor gets to see the representative original rooms of the Baroque library, which today constitute only a small section of Melk abbey library. Since the 18th century new stack rooms have been created on the ground floor and on the second floor, connected by a central spiral staircase. The collections are continually being augmented and updated, so that it is still an “active” library in whose treasury of books scholars from around the world are interested, and which is repeatedly the subject of research projects. The showcases in the main library room have always provided a little insight into the special treasures of this library, but since 1996 they have also been specifically used to showcase research projects and to present special exhibitions concerning topical subjects and themes.

Presently the library comprises about 100.000 books, among them approximately 1800 manuscripts and 750 incunabula. In the main room and the adjoining room on the first floor, one sees about 16.000 volumes.

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