The museums in the Gesäuse are not just perfect rainy-day destinations. From Admont Abbey to the Silvanum Forest Museum in Großreifling – there’s so much waiting to be discovered. If you too want to experience the region’s exciting cultural treasures, you should pay a visit to the Christmas markets and get in touch with the locals. Two of these markets’ fame stretches far beyond the region: the Christmas market at Weidendom Visitor Centre right in the heart of the National Park and the gorgeous market at Admont Abbey. Those who seek a little bit more action shouldn’t miss out on the traditional Krampus runs at the beginning of December when these beastly figures run through the streets of the villages.
They say that the eighth wonder of the world can be found in Admont. And indeed one feels tiny when standing on the checkered-pattern floor of the largest monastic library in the world, amidst – hold on now – 70,000 antiquarian books. The silence is only broken by murmurs of “wow” coming from the visitors. Many of the books have been preserved in their original state from the 18th century: covered in white chalk in order to make the space, designed by the likes of renowned artists Josef Hueber, Josef Stammel and Bartolomeo Altomonte, look even brighter. If you take a guided tour of the library you can spy out the secret passages leading to the first floor and what ‘The Four Last Things’ are all about.
And on we go to one of the four museum contained within the walls of the Benedictine Abbey. You’ll be spoilt for choice: natural history, art history or something contemporary? Or maybe the temporary exhibition, which focuses on a different topic every year? And don’t forget to stop by the national park room because, after all, the history of the Gesäuse and Admont Abbey are closely linked.
Apart from Admont Abbey there’s also the Silvanum Forest Museum in Großreifling, where you can find out everything you need to know about forestry. Interactive sleigh rides and rafting trips, as well as a replica of an old lumberjack lodge make for an exciting experience, where the uniqueness of man kind and wood in all its forms take centre stage.
Christmas markets framed by the marvellous mountain scenery of the Gesäuse.