Departed our railway side home at Kritzendorf at 9am heading towards Salzburg following the Danube River out of Vienna.
A resupply stop at ‘Billa’ supermarket in Neulengback on through Melk, stopping for a picnic lunch by the Danube river watching the river cruise ships and barges go past.
Melk? Hmmm, rang a bell so we went back to our Europe on a shoestring book to discover we had passed one of the world’s most famous monastic sites Melk Abbey or Stift Melk a huge abbey located on a cliff overlooking the town of Melk. We did not notice it!! So back we went to the town of Melk.
Indeed when approaching from the West you cannot miss the Abbey towering over the town.
We paid the admission and took an interesting guided tour of the abbey and church. The abbey was originally founded in 1089 when Leopold II, Margrave of Austria gave one of his castles to Benedictine monks. A monastic school was founded in the 12th century.
Today’s impressive Baroque abbey was built between 1702 and 1736. the abbey church with frescos and an impressive library with countless medieval manuscripts. It would have been good to be able to read the texts on display however the translations were only in German.
The abbey managed to survive other threats to its existence during the Napoleonic Wars, the Nazi Anschluss that took control of Austria in 1938, when the school and a large part of the abbey were confiscated by the state. The school was returned to the abbey after the Second World War and now caters for nearly 900 pupils of both sexes.
Some free entertainment on the way out with a military band practicing in the courtyard for the celebration of 30 years friendship between the local militrary base and the Sift Melk.
On to Salzburg.
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