Pin from the Abbey at Melk

Pin from the Abbey at Melk

Visited May 27, 2014.

I’ve been here at least three times already, so am staying on the ship. Had breakfast with the captain this morning, which was nice.

Aerial view of the Abbey at Melk

Aerial view of the Abbey at Melk

Melk Abbey

Melk Abbey (German: Stift Melk) is a Benedictine abbey in Austria, and among the world’s most famous monastic sites. It is located above the town of Melk on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube River in Lower Austria, 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, the Stiftsgymnasium Melk, 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 center of the Melk Reform movement which reinvigorated the monastic life of Austria and Southern Germany.

Wachau Valley topography

Wachau Valley topography

Today’s impressive Baroque abbey was built between 1702 and 1736 to designs by Jakob Prandtauer. Particularly noteworthy is the abbey church with frescos by Johann Michael Rottmayr and the impressive 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 Nazi Anschluss that took control of Austria 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.

Since 1625 the abbey has been a member of the Austrian Congregation, now within the Benedictine Confederation.

In his well-known novel The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco named one of the protagonists “Adson von Melk” as a tribute to the abbey and its famous library.

Krems

KremsKrems is below Melk going down toward Vienna. Our ship docked there, but I had virtually no time to look at anything, for getting to the bus for a trip to Feuersbrun for visit to a winery. The

Moenfeld family runs the winery

Moenfeld family runs the winery

host was the owner Erhard Möerwald (www.weinbau-moerwald.com) with an e mail address erhard@weinbau-moerweld.com a highly recommended sight for oenophiles. Gerhard does not make cherry schnapps, since cherries are too difficult to pick.

I returned to the ship where the dining room was serenaded by the Donauschammeln—a duet of accordion and violin. We sang a number of German songs (at least they and I did). Johannes Wels, violinist, gave me his card for www.donauschrammeln.at if I ever wanted to sing with them.

The family of Erhard Moenwald and the entrance to the modern winery.

Moenfeld Winery

Die Donauschrammeln two members sang on the ship

Die Donauschrammeln two members sang on the ship

Location: 20-B2

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