Along the Danube River in Austria is a majestic Benedictine Abbey that overlooks the town of Melk. The original Abbey was founded in 1089 when King Leopold II graciously offered one of his castles to the monks of a nearby monastery. The Abbey was rebuilt in the early 18th Century in the lavish Baroque style. Melk Abbey is now a monastery school that educates 800 students. Whether religious or not, you will certainly be able to appreciate the architecture and grandeur of this impressive complex. I spent a couple of hours happily marvelling at the beautiful interiors and lovely bright colours. The library is an absolute spectacle, as well as the lavish marble and gold interior of the main church. Also, don’t miss the photo opportunities at the bottom of the spiral staircase.
Disclaimer – I was really sick with a cold in the photo below, hence the red puffy eyes.
The Melk Abbey is now a UNESCO world heritage site and is still home to thirty Benedictine Monks, as well as a huge collection of gold embellished statues, beautiful religious artworks, and bejewelled crucifixes. It kind of makes you feel a little sick seeing all the gold treasures, I had a similar experience in the Vatican many years ago. It definitely makes you wonder whether a few commandments may have been broken in the acquisition of all that wealth.
Once inside, we explored the museum that showcases hundreds of religious artworks and artefacts, as well as the opulent Monastery Church, the Marble Hall, and one of the most beautiful libraries I have ever seen in my life. The Library is an immaculate place to house 16,000 ancient books, with heavenly painted ceilings adorned with angels and garlands, marble columns, and wall to wall bookshelves. It was just beautiful and reminded me of the library in Beauty and the Beast. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed inside the library.
Guided visits are available from April to November, and self guided visits all year round. Entry costs €13 euro and you should allow around 2 hours to have an in depth look around. Th best way to get to Melk Abbey is the train, which is a short walk from the station. You can easily access Melk by road on the A1 and B1. Or like me, you can arrive by ship. We were docked in Passau, and it was a short drive to Melk by coach.