“Libraries are the thin red line between civilization and barbarism”

Marble Room
Marble Room ceiling seen from the center of the room
Marble Room ceiling seen from the side of the room
Marble Room
Marble Room

Melk Abbey is famous for its library, elaborate and symmetrical in its Baroque glory. Unfortunately photos are not allowed in the library itself, or at least in the one of eight floors visitors get to see. However, you can take pictures everywhere else in the abbey, and the stylings are similar in the library to the rest of the abbey, especially the Marble Room pictured here. Fun fact: a giant globe in the library shows California as an island off the west coast of North America. Make of this what you will.

Decorative staircase between the library and the church

The Marble Room is a bit of a misnomer – most of the marble is actually painted plaster. But it’s so old now that it’s worth more than marble. So I guess it all worked out in the end. The ceiling painting is an illusion – the image is only correct from the center of the room. If you look at it from the side of the room, the columns appear to be broken. The ceiling in the Marble Room is also flat, but the painting was made to look like it’s curved. The ceiling in the library boasts a similar painting, but its ceiling is curved rather than flat.

Sculpture at the entrance of Melk Abbey Church
Melk Abbey Church
Melk Abbey Church
Melk Abbey Church
Melk Abbey Church
Melk Abbey Church
Detail in Melk Abbey Church

The church was my favorite part of the visit though. It looks a little like a theatre with boxes along the second level of the nave. This is no accident: the architect specialized in theatres, and the Melk church is no exception.

Title quote: Neil Gaiman

Detail in Melk Abbey Church
Melk Abbey Church
Melk Abbey Church
Detail in Melk Abbey Church
Melk Abbey Church
Melk Abbey Church
Melk Abbey Church

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