Melk, Austria: Home of the Melk Benedictine Abbey

Looking down on Melk, Austria
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Melk is a Danube River town in Austria, home to a marvelous Benedictine Abbey that sits on a steep hill overlooking the town. This Benedictine Abbey was founded in 1089, and Melk has been a cultural and spiritual center of Austria ever since. Monks have continually lived and worked in the Melk Abbey for over 900 years, despite the building having been rebuilt numerous times. Near the beginning of the 18th century, the ochre-colored Melk Abbey was completely reconstructed in the Baroque style, with quiet arched passageways, large courtyards, and the monks' residences, a school, and ornate church inside.

A tour of the Melk Abbey is included on Danube River cruises. Buses carry passengers to the top of the abbey hill, and a guided tour of the rooms and artwork is included. The large reception room and library are particularly impressive. Rather than return to the ship on the bus, most passengers walk the short distance down the hill to explore Melk before strolling back to their ship.

River cruises sailing the Danube River always stopover in Melk near the Wachau Valley of Austria to allow guests to tour the Melk Abbey.

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Stairway to Melk Abbey From Parking Lot

Stairway to Melk Abbey from Parking Lot
Linda Garrison

These steps lead down to the Melk Abbey. However, cruise visitors must walk up the steps to reboard the bus or walk down through the town to the ship.

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Melk Abbey

Melk Abbey in Melk, Austria
Linda Garrison
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Melk Abbey

Melk Abbey
Linda Garrison
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Melk Abbey Courtyard

Melk Abbey Courtyard
Linda Garrison

The Melk Abbey has several courtyards such as this one near the entrance that is open to the public.

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Melk Abbey Staircase

Melk Abbey Staircase
Linda Garrison
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Melk Abbey Passageway

Melk Abbey
Linda Garrison
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Model of Melk Abbey

Model of Melk Abbey
Linda Garrison

Some of the interior rooms at the Melk Abbey have exhibits of jewelry, religious vestments, and artwork. This model of the abbey shows the size of the complex.

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Melk Abbey Walkway

Melk Abbey
Linda Garrison
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Large Reception Room at Melk Abbey

Large Reception Room at Melk Abbey
Linda Garrison
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Reception Room Pillars at Melk Abbey

Reception Room Pillars at Melk Abbey
Linda Garrison

If the Melk Abbey were a palace rather than a religious facility, this room would be perfect as a ballroom. Instead, it is used for receptions (but no dancing).

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Reception Room Pillars at Melk Abbey

Reception Room Pillars at Melk Abbey
Linda Garrison

Sometimes it is important to use a camera or binoculars to zoom in on artwork near the ceilings such as that topping these pillars.

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Library at Melk Abbey

Library at Melk Abbey
Linda Garrison
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Melk Abbey Interior

Interior of Church at Melk Abbey
Linda Garrison
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Saint Skeleton at Melk Abbey Church

Saint Skeleton at Melk Abbey Church
Linda Garrison
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Saint Skeleton at Melk Abbey Church

Saint Skeleton at Melk Abbey Church
Linda Garrison
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Melk Abbey Grounds and Gardens

Melk Abbey Grounds and Gardens
Linda Garrison
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Melk Abbey Grounds

Melk Abbey Grounds
Linda Garrison
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Melk, Austria

Melk, Austria
Linda Garrison
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View of Melk, Austria From the Melk Abbey

View of Melk, Austria from the Melk Abbey
Linda Garrison
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Flooded Melk Summer Amphitheater

Flooded Melk Summer Amphitheater at Melk, Austria
Linda Garrison

The Danube River flooded the summer amphitheater the day before it was set to open for the summer season in 2008. What a mess!

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Flooded Danube River

Flooded Danube River in Melk, Austria
Linda Garrison

The Danube River usually stays within its banks; however, it sometimes floods small towns such as lovely Melk.

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Danube River

Danube River near Melk, Austria
Linda Garrison

Note how quiet and lovely the river is compared to the next photo, taken when it was flooded.

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Flooded Danube River at Melk

Flooded Danube River at Melk, Austria
Linda Garrison

The same view from the Melk Abbey as the previous photo, except the Danube River is flooded and muddy.

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