Thursday, July 07, 2016

Melk Abbey--a Danube Stunner

Wednesday June 24, 2015 
Our approach to Melk Abbey was kind of backdoor.  We got off the ship and found ourselves at a lovely little café.  From there you would walk up the hill or take a shuttle.

 As oldsters we chose the shuttle coach and thus approached the Abbey from the parking lot.
 



You may want a semi lay of the land before you enter. If so take a look at the map below.




This model is helpful too as it shows the critical parts of the several acre site on a cliff above the river before the fancy stairs from the parking lot were constructed.  The Abbey Church is on the left and is most visible from the river.  The various courtyards are on the right, and the town is below, actually hidden from the river by the bluff.




Or would you like a view of the Abbey taken in 1963 on our first visit to Europe.  This is what it looked like then thanks to the enduring quality of Kodachrome slides. It has been given a prodigious cleaning since then, but remains a defiant giant perched on the edge of its cliff.



Now to look at the Abbey in 2015. First you enter the forecourt where you face the impressive façade of St. Benedict's Hall.

 
When you proceed through the archway ahead of you, don't forget to look up.



If you forget, you will miss some striking ceiling frescoes.


 
 
Once through that pleasingly cool tunnel, you are in the spacious Prelate's Court with splendid facades on all four sides and a pleasing fountain in the center.
 



 
This longer view shows the St. Benedict's Hall arch on the left.

 
More delights await inside where you can savor calming cloisters sinuous staircases and a technologically stunning set of displays that cover the history of the Abbey. 



This is not a door for midget Benedictines, but instead a portal in the hall that allowed the stove in the room beyond the wall to be stoked without a person having to enter the room.


Here you can see the stove and its connecting channel to the hall while also appreciating the different lighting tones that envelop the exhibits.

 
Not far away was a statue of St. Benedict himself, the founder of the Order.
 

Another room featured a 360 degree projection of the area that surrounds the abbey.  Modern technology in the service of history.




Historic artifacts abound-- from golden vessels and bejeweled chalices  to heavily  brocaded vestments.


 

 
 
 There was even a re-usable coffin with a hinged bottom.  Out with the old; in with the new.


 After the museum we walked out to the front of the promontory that overlooks the river. 



From there you can see the canal that connects the town proper with the main channel.



Next was a visit to the Abbey Church--a riot of glitter and gold in a sort of Rococo on steroids..










 



Close by the church is the airy Marble Hall that leads to the famous Abbey Library.





The trompe d'oeill ceiling in the Marble Hall  blows you away.



Our time was up and we decided to walk back down to the mooring rather than take the shuttle.
We ended up at a lovely riverside café where we were able to grab a snack as well as see stark written evidence of past Danube floods painted on the walls.
  


 
 
We close this chapter out with the most common view of Jim
 
and a final view of Melk Abbey as we pull away
 
 
 

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