Melk Abbey is an Austrian Masterpiece


| 8/17/2017 3:02:00 PM


Tags: AmaWaterways, Marilyn Jones, river cruise, Baroque abbey, Austria, Danube River,

Marilyn Jones 

It is a rainy windswept day when I visit Melk Abbey, an AmaWaterways river cruise excursion in Austria. We meet our very young guide (who looks more like a teenager than the scholar tour guide she is) in a grand inner courtyard before entering the abbey proper.

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It was Abbot Berthold Dietmayr and his architects Jakob Prandtauer and Joseph Munggenast who were the driving force behind building Melk Abbey in the early 18th century on the foundations of a medieval monastery. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the biggest and most beautiful Baroque enclaves in Europe. Built on a cliff overlooking the Danube, it is Austria’s most visited art-historical site.

Our guide explains as we enter a museum-like area that the motto of the Benedictine order is “pray, work, learn.” This motto is illustrated in room after room in an effective modern-art way. She tells us this is still an active abbey with 31 monks and that its primary income is from tourist visitation.  

Since 1089, Benedictine monks have continually lived and worked in Melk Abbey. Today, the abbey also houses a secondary school.




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