Join our Melk shore excursion and discover Melk, Austria`s spiritual center on the Danube. Located on the south bank of the Danube River, half way between Linz and Vienna, Melk is a small city of around 5000 inhabitants, yet it holds surprises that make it one of the most popular destinations in Austria.
A majestic Benedectine Abbey perched on a rock high above the Valley, overlooking the Danube River, is Melk’s iconic symbol and UNESCO world heritage site. The 900-years old monastery was founded in 1089, after Leopold II, Margrave of Austria handed over one of his castles to Benedictine monks. Melk Abbey is one of the very few monasteries in the world in which monks have uninterruptedly lived and worked since its foundation.
The Stiftsgymnasium Melk, a monastic school, was founded in the 12th century, and the monastic library hosts a world famous manuscript collection. The monastery's scriptorium was one of the main medieval hubs of production of manuscripts.
Today's Baroque abbey was built between 1702 and 1736 and designed by the architect Jakob Prandtauer; while the Marmorsaal contains pillars covered in red marble and a ceiling with allegorical paintings by Paul Troger. The library occupies two floors and preserves about 80,000 volumes of inestimable value, to the point that in his novel “The Name of the Rose”, Umberto Eco named one of the protagonists "Adso of Melk" to honor the abbey and its famous library. The Stiftskirche boasts an impressive number of windows, decorated with marble and frescoes by Johann Michael Rottmayr.
Melk Abbey is until today a stout symbol of spirituality and art, Austria’s spiritual and theological center on the Danube, enriching Europe and the world of Christianity with its immeasurable value.
Our Melk shore excursion will also include a stroll through the cobbled streets of the small but alluring historical centre, where one can reveal and admire the history behind the various buildings built between the 15th and 17th centuries, such as, the Rathaus and the Haus am Stein.
Nevertheless, the dark chapter in Melk’s history should not be forgotten: between April 21st 1944 and April 15th 1945, a concentration camp as one of the biggest Mauthausen concentration camp satellites operated in the city. Approximately 14.390 prisoners were forced to work here in the course of one year, and around 5,000 Jews lost their lives here. In 1962, the former crematorium was turned into the public monument and memorial that now hosts the exhibition created by Bertrand Perz and Gottfried Fliedl.
Embark with us on a journey through Melk’s unique history, culture and nature; feel the spiritual atmosphere on our Melk shore excursion!