Melk Abbey

Melk, Austria

Melk Abbey is a Benedictine abbey on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube river, adjoining the Wachau valley. The abbey contains the tomb of Saint Coloman of Stockerau and the remains of several members of the House of Babenberg, Austria's first ruling dynasty.

The abbey was founded in 1089 when Leopold II, Margrave of Austria gave one of his castles to Benedictine monks from Lambach Abbey. A monastic school was founded in the 12th century, and the monastic library soon became renowned for its extensive manuscript collection. The monastery's scriptorium was also a major site for the production of manuscripts. In the 15th century the abbey became the centre of the Melk Reform movement which reinvigorated the monastic life of Austria and Southern Germany.

Today's Baroque abbey was built between 1702 and 1736 to designs by Jakob Prandtauer. Particularly noteworthy are the abbey church with frescos by Johann Michael Rottmayr and the library with countless medieval manuscripts, including a famed collection of musical manuscripts and frescos by Paul Troger.

Due to its fame and academic stature, Melk managed to escape dissolution under Emperor Joseph II when many other Austrian abbeys were seized and dissolved between 1780 and 1790. The abbey managed to survive other threats to its existence during the Napoleonic Wars, and also in the period following the Anschluss 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.



Your name


Sterngasse 23, Melk, Austria
See all sites in Melk


Founded: 1089
Category: Religious sites in Austria


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Bill Lakie (5 months ago)
A beautiful place to visit. The tour was fascinating. Our guide was very knowledgeable and was willing to answer any questions posed to her. The library is the center piece of the abbey. The view from the terrace was impressive. The garden paths were also a highlight of our visit. So much to see here from the gardens to the abbey. Highly recommend a visit.
Michael (6 months ago)
A great place to visit if you are visiting Vienna. About an hour drive from Vienna City. Marvellous architecture. The place is beautiful. You will need to buy tickets to visit inside, which is recommended. However, just note no photography or video taking inside.
Maybelline Vasquez (7 months ago)
Beautiful castle a must see. Amazing paintings, architecture, largest library I've ever seen. Your not allowed to take photos inside.
Eva Munch (8 months ago)
Definitely a great experience. Beautiful abbey with lots of history. We came here while on our Viking cruise. You do need a ticket to get in. Ours was included in the city tour. Beautiful architecture everywhere. Paintings, statues, carvings.... garden... lots to see !
James LaSalle (10 months ago)
Our tour guide was excellent! She started in the courtyard and gave a great overview of the current happenings at the property. Then we proceed into the museum and they have you walk through the rooms in order. She showed us interesting little details, like the doors in the hallway that feed the large stoves still in each room. The tour goes through the history of the abbey and ends with beautiful photo ops right before the library.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Doune Castle

Doune Castle was originally built in the thirteenth century, then probably damaged in the Scottish Wars of Independence, before being rebuilt in its present form in the late 14th century by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany (c. 1340–1420), the son of King Robert II of Scots, and Regent of Scotland from 1388 until his death. Duke Robert"s stronghold has survived relatively unchanged and complete, and the whole castle was traditionally thought of as the result of a single period of construction at this time. The castle passed to the crown in 1425, when Albany"s son was executed, and was used as a royal hunting lodge and dower house.

In the later 16th century, Doune became the property of the Earls of Moray. The castle saw military action during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and Glencairn"s rising in the mid-17th century, and during the Jacobite risings of the late 17th century and 18th century.