About Melk Abbey
On many upscale Danube river cruises you will visit Melk Abbey as a part of your cruise price. Melk Abbey, also known as Stift Melk, is a magnificent Benedictine abbey located in Melk, a town in Lower Austria, about 83 kilometers (52 miles) west of Vienna. Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube River, Melk Abbey is one of the most famous monastic sites in Austria and is renowned for its stunning Baroque architecture, rich history, and impressive collection of artworks.
The abbey traces its origins back to 1089 when Leopold II, Margrave of Austria, established a Benedictine monastery on the site. However, the current abbey building was constructed between 1702 and 1736 under the direction of Jakob Prandtauer, a renowned Austrian architect. The abbey showcases a harmonious blend of Baroque and Rococo styles and stands as a masterpiece of Austrian architecture.
The exterior of Melk Abbey is an imposing structure with its twin towers, grand dome, and golden accents. The abbey's interior is equally magnificent, featuring opulent decorations, elaborate stuccowork, and frescoes by renowned Austrian painter Johann Michael Rottmayr. The Marble Hall, with its magnificent ceiling frescoes and intricate detailing, is one of the abbey's most awe-inspiring spaces.
The abbey also houses a remarkable library that contains a vast collection of medieval manuscripts, including works by famous authors and scholars. The library's main hall, known as the "Marmor Saal" (Marble Hall), is a treasure trove of knowledge, adorned with ornate bookcases and a ceiling fresco depicting the progression of human knowledge.
In addition to its architectural and artistic splendor, Melk Abbey has been an important center of education and spirituality throughout its history. The Benedictine monks of Melk Abbey have played a significant role in preserving and promoting knowledge, literature, and music.
Today, Melk Abbey continues to function as an active monastery, with around 30 Benedictine monks residing within its walls. The abbey also welcomes visitors who come to admire its beauty and learn about its history. Guided tours are available, allowing visitors to explore the abbey's stunning interiors, library, and museum, which exhibits religious artifacts and treasures.
Melk Abbey's picturesque location, perched atop a hill overlooking the Danube, adds to its allure. The abbey's panoramic views of the surrounding landscape make it a popular destination for tourists and photographers.
Overall, Melk Abbey is a remarkable testament to Austria's architectural and cultural heritage. Its stunning beauty, historical significance, and serene setting make it a must-visit destination for those exploring the Danube Valley region.