Today's look back at our European Adventure takes us to St. Florian's Monastery in northeast Austria. Tim opted to go on a bike tour while I chose to visit the monastery. My thinking was that I can go biking any day, but Baroque architecture and history are hard to come by in our region.
St. Florian was a Roman soldier who ran into serious trouble for NOT persecuting Christians, and who became a Christian himself. Although condemned to be burned at the stake, he was thrown into the river with a millstone hung about his neck. As a result, he became the saint of floods and firefighters.
Our tour began in the crypt below the church, where the first church on the site began in the 900s. St. Florian is buried here, along with a lot of other people. In the top left corner of the mosaic above, you'll notice the ornate coffin of Anton Bruckner, the Austrian composer. Behind the coffin is an ossuary of some 6000 Christians whose bones were retrieved during some phase of building. The bones are neatly stacked in rows behind iron grills. It was a little freakish.
From the cellars we climbed upstairs to the church which is full of light and loveliness. The ceiling is very ornate, but if you look very, very closely, you'll see that the ceiling frescos are trompe l'oeil, (fool the eye), and that the stucco work is painted, not 3-D, unlike the white pillars below.
Anton Bruckner was a choir boy here, and loved to play the organ, seen above. His coffin is directly below the organ, when the organ is played, the music is heard in the crypt below.
We wandered through long white hallways with marble floors and wide arches that opened to the courtyard below. I can't help thinking that it would have been very chilly to go from one room to the next in the winter cold.
Our guide gathered our group together in front of a set of beautiful wooden doors with inlaid patterns and told us we would be seeing the library next.
My heart went pitter patter when I stepped into the room. It is truly magnificent. Such a richness of books - 150,000 of them - on gorgeous wooden shelves reaching high, high to the ceiling. Sets of beautifully bound volumes filled the shelves - white, blue, brown, with the occasional red. Light poured in through tall windows set between the bookshelves.
Hidden doors at each end of the room allow the curved shelves to open for access to the next rooms, also used for books. This is a working research library and when we entered a young man slipped quietly through the door to allow us our time in this magical space. I could have stayed all day. Our guide didn't hurry us at all, but allowed us to soak in the atmosphere and ask questions. Such richness.
How about you? Bike ride or monastery? Tim enjoyed his ride and the guide told the group about the history of the area.
Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Angie of Letting Go of the Bay Leaf.