The town of Melk sits at the western end of the wine producing Wachau Valley in Austria, approximately one hour from Vienna and two hours from Salzburg. A small town with fewer than 6000 residents, Melk officially became a municipality in 1898 but has dateable records going back as far as 831. It is a popular venue for art festivals, and is home to a wide variety of architectural styles, including the famous baroque style Melk Abbey. The abbey is a popular stop on Danube river cruises as well as day trips from Vienna and Salzburg.
The Melk Abbey is an active Benedictine monastery and school. Originally built as a royal
castle in 976 by Margrave Leopold I of Babenberg (a military governor), it was later given to the Benedictine monks of Lambach in 1089 by Leopold II. The abbey seen today was re-built in the early 1700's. Today it also houses a prestigious monastery school with over 700 students.
Museum visits and agriculture (vineyards) fund the abbey. The imperial rooms are home to the museum. Each of the 11 rooms are designed in different ways, with a variety of lights, media and exhibits, including paintings and valuable treasures dating back hundreds of years. The vineyards, worked by the monks, produce the apricot liquor (Wachauer Marrille Likor) the area is well known for.
Melk Abbey was my personal favorite stop on my Danube cruise. For more on this cruise, click here.
Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder