Melk, and Its Stift
A 'stift' is an abbey. To see the official website for the city of Melk and its Stift, click on this line!
To see my pictures of this nice little town and its grand Benedictine Abbey, keep looking. Melk is on the Danube about 50 miles west of Vienna. The Abbey is a former castle given to the Benedictine order in 1089. It is still a Benedictine Abbey, and several monks were conducting private tours.
Large parts of it are open to the public, however, which is a good thing. The website linked above gives an overview of every room, I will try to give just a few glimpses. First, here is how the abbey dominates the town of Melk:
As you can see in the photo above, there is a wooded hill at the front of the Stift:
And at the bottom of that wooded hill lies a little arm of the Danube that gives this view up to the Stift:
Then, like the fool that I am, I walk way past the Stift to soak up some of its surroundings before I go in: first there is the shady path up the hill from the town:
Then there are the mustard fields that extend from the back of the Stift's gardens, this is the view toward the city:
And this is the view toward the river:
Then and only then do we finally go inside and look all around quickly (I have a boat to catch):
First there is the entry, the second entry, and finally the museum:
Then there is the front walkway between the two main wings with views in all directions. This is the view to the Danube, upstream:
This is the view of the Danube, downstream:
Now we turn completely around and see the main part of the Stift:
But, I saved the best for last: the view of the city from the Stift:
Back into the building, the library was a nice surprise:
On display were several rare books, the library has a mix of the very old and relatively new, it was being dusted while I was there, it is still used.
The museum was very interesting, with some really ornate and rich artwork from a bygone era:
Some of the artwork focused on the ways that Saints were disposed of: the wheel in one case, the drowning barrel in another:
But after the museum and the library amazed me, I found the chapel simply astounding! Extremely ornate, Baroque style, and very rich in art and gold. We will stand by the candles in the center and look to the back first, with its organ and ceiling.
Then we look to the front from the same spot:
The chapel's ceiling is a masterpiece by any standard:
It is mesmerizingly beautiful. Expensive to maintain, so there is a joint venture at preservation between the state and the church.
Several places had spiral staircases that were also works of art (but closed off for that reason I'm sure. This what one of them looked like from the bottom:
A mirror was set up to allow a view up:
The Stift and Melk were a delight to the senses. Could have easily spent more time here. But all good things have to end, and now I am getting on this boat, the last one of the day, with a full 5 minutes to spare:
From the rear deck, prior to making a U-turn, this is the view into the river-proper:
As we turn and leave Melk and enter the Danube's Wachau region, some last looks at Melk's Stift:
Destination: the Wachau, and then Krems.
Go To Krems and the Wachau
Go to Tale of Two Hikes
Go To Baden (Second Hike)
Some Views of Vienna
Go To The Journey in 2003