BookShelf of the Week: Stift Melk

Wednesday is Bookshelf of the Week day, and keeping with last week’s historical European theme, this week’s featured bookshelves, as shown in this shot from Martin Haesemeyer, are the ones found in the awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage protected Stift Melk Benedictine Monastery in Austria.

Handed to the Benedictine Order by Leopold II at the end of the eleventh-century, the adapted monastery soon had a school attached to it, and from the twelfth-century it began to create, collect and fill the library with countless manuscripts and tomes. The result is a library which today is not only stunning, but of extreme historical value. According to the Stift Melk official website, out of the 100,000 volumes housed in the Abbey’s library (16,000 of which are in this main room), the scholarly treasures include:

  • 1,888 manuscripts and 750 incunabula of pre-fifteenth-century origin
  • 1,700 works from the sixteenth-century
  • 4,500 from the seventeenth-century
  • 18,000 from the eighteenth-century
  • As good as Martin’s picture is of the Stift Melk library, it perhaps doesn’t fully convey just how incredible the library is. I therefore urge you to also take a minute to look at the other pictures in Martin’s set (the last picture in the set is of course the New York Public Library, and not Stift Melk), the Stift Melk search results on Flickr, and of course the official website page.

    What an incredible library, and another place I have to add to my ‘must visit’ list. It may be a destination that’s already in your own ‘must visit’ list, or it may even be one you’ve already had the pleasure of visiting. If it is, or you have, then I’d love to hear about it.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).