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

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

stuart burmeister (3 years ago)
One of the most beautiful places in the world Breathtaking architecture and the gold book room is unforgettable. So much to see in the church. Take your time and take your camera. If you don't visit Melk you have not been to Austria. Regular bus tours there or drive yourself. It's not far from Vienna. It's phenomenal!! You can even have a meal there. Plenty parking and facilities . Even a great souvenir shop.A must see place in Austria.
Adrian Plesescu (3 years ago)
A must if you are in Melk. Very nice city. Amazing abbey. Nice garden and surroundings. Try to go down to Danube small port.
William Cornforth (3 years ago)
Beautiful abbey, I really enjoyed the tour although the beginning is a bit slow and not very interesting. Unfortunately the gems are only available to see for a short time in the summer. The monks get to enjoy them for themselves the rest of the year.
Diana luxuryretreathawaii Vacation Rental Hawaii (3 years ago)
Beautiful site, just plan extra time as there is so much to visit there, plus to enjoy the beautiful views. I feel we spent way to little time there. They have a gift shop also, where you can buy wine made by the monks. Very interesting and lots to learn!
David Sherwood (4 years ago)
We took a wonderful tour through Melk Abbey. This hilltop abbey dates from around 1100 AD with later developments. The monk's quarters were impressive but the church and library were the best features to me. After touring the buildings, be sure to take the time to stroll through the gardens. There are whimsical items to charm you and the beauty and views of Melk far below are breath taking.
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