Stiftspark

The Baroque Abbey Park with the Garden Pavilion was laid out in 1743 and was probably originally decorated with Baroque ornamental arrangements of flowers, plants and gravel. Its design is not only a product of the physical landscape but also the period’s idea of a “paradisiacal” garden.

Before it was created, the area was relatively impassable, covered with vines and fruit trees. The original level was lower, about that of the current entrance. The area of today’s Garden Pavilion was raised in order to create a higher viewpoint over the Danube. Symmetry was very important in the Baroque period. This is evident in the comparison between the building and the garden: the area covered by the building correspondents more or less to the cultivated garden space. However, the garden is also based on a philosophical-theological concept.

The number three, a holy number, crops up repeatedly in the building and the park. For example, the church has three levels: the nave, the dome and the cupola. In the cupola, above the dome, the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, is depicted in the form of a dove. The Abbey Park is also divided into three levels. The upper level contains a pool. Water reservoirs are generally placed on the highest level, partly for practical reasons. However, this open-air pool is also a symbol of life, which corresponds to the cupola on the dome with its depiction of the Holy Ghost, who is a symbol of life that ensures its continuation. The dome and the pool are exactly equidistant from an axis between the two “Babenberg” towers!

Shortly after 1800, the thematic precision of the Baroque complex was done away with and it was transformed into an English garden in accordance with the fashion of the time. Thereafter, the park became increasingly overgrown, with only the most basic upkeep being undertaken. In 1995, the renovation of the Abbey Park began with the aim of preserving and, where necessary, completing all the overgrown, hidden or damaged elements of both the original Baroque and the later English garden. Today, next to the Garden Pavilion, one can once again see the Honorattempel, a round neo-Baroque Pavilion, on the upper level of the Abbey Park and the fountain. The Baroque tiled platform was made visible again, and the old system of paths recreated in order to revive the original philosophical and metaphysical concept of the park complex.

Next to the large pool, the highest part of the Abbey Park on the third level, there is an avenue of linden trees, some of which date from the Baroque period, planted around 250 years ago. However, contemporary touches have also been added to the park since then: in the pool, for example, there is an installation by the artist Christian Philipp Müller with the title “The New World, a Type of locus amoenus”. It is an island with plants from the New World growing on it. In 2009, a “Cabinet Clairvoyée” was set up behind the Garden Pavilion as a viewing point looking out over the Danube to the west. In the northern part of the park, there is the “Benedict Way”, whose theme is “Benedict – the Blessed”. The “Garden of Paradise” was rebuilt according to the old models of the Abbey garden that contained medicinal herbs, spices and strong smelling or vibrantly coloured plants.

One part is a “Jardin méditerranéen”. This exotic Mediterranean garden is intended to recall the past use of the area of today’s Abbey restaurant: an orangery. Biblical plants were planted on the slope: fig trees and vines as well as an apple and a palm tree. 

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