Europe Austria Melk, Austria: Home of the Melk Benedictine Abbey By Linda Garrison Linda Garrison Linda Paull Garrison is a travel writer who has taken over 150 cruises and spent over 1,100 days at sea. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 06/06/19 Share Pin Email larigan - Patricia Hamilton/Getty Images 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. 01 of 23 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 2 of 23 below. 02 of 23 Melk Abbey Linda Garrison Continue to 3 of 23 below. 03 of 23 Melk Abbey Linda Garrison Continue to 4 of 23 below. 04 of 23 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 5 of 23 below. 05 of 23 Melk Abbey Staircase Linda Garrison Continue to 6 of 23 below. 06 of 23 Melk Abbey Passageway Linda Garrison Continue to 7 of 23 below. 07 of 23 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 8 of 23 below. 08 of 23 Melk Abbey Walkway Linda Garrison Continue to 9 of 23 below. 09 of 23 Large Reception Room at Melk Abbey Linda Garrison Continue to 10 of 23 below. 10 of 23 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 11 of 23 below. 11 of 23 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 12 of 23 below. 12 of 23 Library at Melk Abbey Linda Garrison Continue to 13 of 23 below. 13 of 23 Melk Abbey Interior Linda Garrison Continue to 14 of 23 below. 14 of 23 Saint Skeleton at Melk Abbey Church Linda Garrison Continue to 15 of 23 below. 15 of 23 Saint Skeleton at Melk Abbey Church Linda Garrison Continue to 16 of 23 below. 16 of 23 Melk Abbey Grounds and Gardens Linda Garrison Continue to 17 of 23 below. 17 of 23 Melk Abbey Grounds Linda Garrison Continue to 18 of 23 below. 18 of 23 Melk, Austria Linda Garrison Continue to 19 of 23 below. 19 of 23 View of Melk, Austria From the Melk Abbey Linda Garrison Continue to 20 of 23 below. 20 of 23 Flooded Melk Summer Amphitheater 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 21 of 23 below. 21 of 23 Flooded Danube River Linda Garrison The Danube River usually stays within its banks; however, it sometimes floods small towns such as lovely Melk. Continue to 22 of 23 below. 22 of 23 Danube River Linda Garrison Note how quiet and lovely the river is compared to the next photo, taken when it was flooded. Continue to 23 of 23 below. 23 of 23 Flooded Danube River at Melk Linda Garrison The same view from the Melk Abbey as the previous photo, except the Danube River is flooded and muddy. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! 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