Melk, Austria: Home of the Melk Benedictine Abbey

Looking down on Melk, Austria
••• larigan - Patricia Hamilton/Getty Images
  • 01 of 24

    Charming Town on the Danube River in Austria

    Viking River Cruises' Viking Spirit in Melk, Austria
    ••• Linda Garrison

    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.

    Continue to 2 of 24 below.
  • 02 of 24

    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.

    Continue to 3 of 24 below.
  • 03 of 24

    Melk Abbey

    Melk Abbey in Melk, Austria
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 4 of 24 below.
  • 04 of 24

    Melk Abbey

    Melk Abbey
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 5 of 24 below.
  • 05 of 24

    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.

    Continue to 6 of 24 below.
  • 06 of 24

    Melk Abbey Staircase

    Melk Abbey Staircase
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 7 of 24 below.
  • 07 of 24

    Melk Abbey Passageway

    Melk Abbey
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 8 of 24 below.
  • 08 of 24

    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.

    Continue to 9 of 24 below.
  • 09 of 24

    Melk Abbey Walkway

    Melk Abbey
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 10 of 24 below.
  • 10 of 24

    Large Reception Room at Melk Abbey

    Large Reception Room at Melk Abbey
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 11 of 24 below.
  • 11 of 24

    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).

    Continue to 12 of 24 below.
  • 12 of 24

    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.

    Continue to 13 of 24 below.
  • 13 of 24

    Library at Melk Abbey

    Library at Melk Abbey
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 14 of 24 below.
  • 14 of 24

    Melk Abbey Interior

    Interior of Church at Melk Abbey
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 15 of 24 below.
  • 15 of 24

    Saint Skeleton at Melk Abbey Church

    Saint Skeleton at Melk Abbey Church
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 16 of 24 below.
  • 16 of 24

    Saint Skeleton at Melk Abbey Church

    Saint Skeleton at Melk Abbey Church
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 17 of 24 below.
  • 17 of 24

    Melk Abbey Grounds and Gardens

    Melk Abbey Grounds and Gardens
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 18 of 24 below.
  • 18 of 24

    Melk Abbey Grounds

    Melk Abbey Grounds
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 19 of 24 below.
  • 19 of 24

    Melk, Austria

    Melk, Austria
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 20 of 24 below.
  • 20 of 24

    View of Melk, Austria From the Melk Abbey

    View of Melk, Austria from the Melk Abbey
    ••• Linda Garrison
    Continue to 21 of 24 below.
  • 21 of 24

    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!

    Continue to 22 of 24 below.
  • 22 of 24

    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.

    Continue to 23 of 24 below.
  • 23 of 24

    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.

    Continue to 24 of 24 below.
  • 24 of 24

    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.