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.

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Address

Sterngasse 23, Melk, Austria
See all sites in Melk

Details

Founded: 1089
Category: Religious sites in Austria

Rating

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.
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