Things to see and do - Austria
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The Eisenerz Alps :
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The Eisenerz Alps
The Eisenerz AlpsBy car, 95 km, 2 days
Thanks to Erzberg, which formed an open cast iron mine, the Eisenerz Alps made the fortune of the old Austrian empire. From the Frauenberg pilgrimage church to Leoben you will discover a region rich in panoramas and interesting sites.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
This pilgrimage church was rebuilt by the abbots of Admont in an Italianate Baroque style, in the 17C. The interior has a remarkable unity of style, with the exuberant stuccowork matching the rich gilding that highlights the dark ebony altars and pulpit. The Calvary terrace offers a fine view of Admont and its elegant abbey church steeples, overlooked by the Haller Mauer, Reichenstein and Hochtor peaks.
The Benedictine Abbey of Admont was one of the great cultural centres of Christendom and European civilization as early as its foundation, by St Emma and Gebhard, Archbishop of Salzburg, in the 11C. It is still so today, with a library that boasts some 1 400 manuscripts and 150 000 volumes. The first thing that visitors see when arriving here are the abbey church spires proudly adorning a valley dominated by the grandiose Haller Mauern and Gross Buchstein peaks. The library's splendid interior is worthy of the treasures that it houses, with a sumptuous 70m-long Rococo state room that stretches on either side of a central dome. The prestige of the library, built in 1776, is enhanced by its bodies with deep window embrasures and an upper gallery, with a wrought-iron balustrade. Note the ceiling frescoes by Bartolomeo Altomonte and famous statues of the Four Last Things: Death, Last Judgement, Heaven and Hell, by Josef Stammel, who revived the art of woodcarving, neglected in Austria since the late Gothic period. His fresh inspiration successfully combines with the skilful composition of the displayed manuscripts. The museum's history section exhibits beautiful religious art items, including the outstanding finery and ornaments of the Admont school of embroidery which flourished in the 17C.
The largest fortified church in Styria, built from 1470 to 1518, is a major work of the Admont masons' guild. It was fortified by order of the Emperor in 1532, due to a direct threat of Turkish invasion, acquiring the encircling wall, towers and massive barbican still standing today. Inside, there are mining motifs on the organ loft and a wooden figurine in miner's dress from the period of Maximilian II.
The Church of St Francis Xavier testifies to the power of the Jesuit College founded in Leoben in 1613. This early-Baroque building from the 1660s, attributed to the architect Pietro Francesco Carlone, offers a pilastered and corniced façade, flanked by two towers. Inside, the simple pilasters enable the black and gold tones of the original furnishings (1670) to stand out and there are overabundant grotesques typical of Austrian Jesuit Baroque churches.
The wrought-iron well made by local craftsman Hans Prasser in 1626 is considered to be the finest example of this art in Styria. The forged section, on a stone base, particularly the canopy with delightful Renaissance motifs, was produced in an outstandingly elegant fashion.
In spite of remodelling and restoration, this fine building, erected by the rich townsman Pankraz Kornmess in the last years of the 15C, still cuts a fine figure. The stylish façade onto the main square has a series of arches whose accolades are adorned with rosette motifs characteristic of Flamboyant Gothic. The loggia on part of the first floor shows the influence of the Italian Renaissance.