Young Benedict left Rome, repulsed by the immorality of the city, and lived in the mountains of Subiaco as a hermit. He found his way to an experience of God step by step: the loneliness of the cave, contact with people looking for direction. At each level he had to learn through experience to recognize the will of his God. Legends describe his life, and his rule for the monks clearly shows his development from a strict ascetic to a wise father of monks. In 529 AD: the foundation of Monte Cassino.
Benedict died in the middle of the 6th century. He continued to write his monastic rules until the end of his life.
These were to become the rule of the early Middle Ages.
In his monastery Benedict founded a school to serve the Lord: In the same way that he sought God all his life, the first thing his monks should try to do was to recognize God’s will. For Benedict the most important criterium for a good monk is that he truly seek God.
After visiting the Abbey we had the choice of walking back to the riverboat via the village or taking the bus. Naturally we chose to walk and enjoy the this beautiful small town, however not long enough for the ladies to browse the shops or even time to stop for a coffee or beer.
Melk is a a beautiful small Austrian town and the best place to obtain a birdseye view is from Melk Abbey.
We had the option of returning to the riverboat by bus or walking back through the village.
Naturally we chose the walk and we were certainly rewarded for our effort.
High up closer to the ceiling than the floor is the magnificent organ. Well worth a photo, a pity no one was playing the day we visited.
Asection of the beautiful ceiling can be seen behind the organ.
The beauty of the Church hits you as soon as you enter. Gold everywhere you look, everything in perfect condition. Just take time to sit down for a few minutes and absorb the scene.
No restrictions on taking photos.
The Courtyard is similar format to that of many Palaces, being the size of a small parade ground, surrounded by buildings on 3 sides and entry arch on the other.
There is a beautiful clock mounted on the building to the right hand side.
Our entry to Melk Abbey was through the gardens, the photo shows our entry point. The gardens were excellent and set the tone for what the Abbey would deliver.
The garden also provides opportunity to take photos of the town and surrounding valley.
Time for me to see the garden
The abbey park was designed as a baroque park in 1750 and in 1822 the majority was replanted as an English landscape garden. The area never used to be open to the public, but now is, so we are very lucky to be able to walk around it and enjoy the Baroque Garden Pavilion.
The garden pavilion served as a place of relaxation for the monks in the Baroque era. Once again there are Baroque frescoes with exotic animals and plants, jungles and native people, another beautiful building!
There is a Cafe for those who wish to have a cuppa!
From the gardens, there is a wonderful view of the eastern side of the Abbey.
Admission tickets to visit only the abbey park and the bastion....
Adults: € 4,00....Students: € 3,00....Children (6-16 J): € 1,00
ABBEY PARK IS OPEN....May to Oct. (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
After the Church, we walked into Coloman courtyard.
Coloman, according to legend, is a king’s son from Ireland on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, who was martyred in 1012 in Stockerau, near Vienna. He was suspected of espionage because of his strange language and clothing, and was then imprisoned, tortured, and finally hanged from a dead elder tree.
The miracles that then occurred soon after, caused the local population to venerate Coloman. Heinrich I become aware of Coloman through these wonders, and had his corpse brought to Melk in 1014, where a ceremonial funeral was held in the St. Peter’s church on the castle cliffs in Melk.
Numerous churches in Austria, Bavaria, Swabia, and elsewhere are dedicated to St. Coloman. Coloman was also Austria’s first patron saint and still is the patron saint of the town and monastery of Melk.
Every year mass is celebrated on October 13th to honor St. Coloman. Since 1451, his saint day has been celebrated on this day in the town with a big fair.
From the library we walk to the Abbey church with its twin onion-domed towers and high cupola.
Another wow! Look at this!
Wonderful baroque architecture, extravagant decoration, brilliant gold leaf and rich gilding is what sprung out at me!
Everything was so richly gilded, and then above my head on the ceiling, were saints and cherubs cavorting in clouds.
The pulpit is entirely of gold. In the apse, the gilded windows of the private rooms where the royal family worshiped look out over the sumptuous high altar.
I guess I walked around like a zombie again, I couldn't help it, I was in awe of this magnificent Church!
On entering the Library I found it was another wow! incredible!
This Library which consists of 12 rooms, is housed in a baroque building that matches the Marble Hall. Inside are richly gilded bookcases of inlaid wood covering the walls up to a high gallery running around the room, up to a brightly painted ceiling.
I don't think I have ever seen a Library like this one before! It is quoted there are 85,000 books and 1,200 manuscripts dating from the 9th to 15th centuries, no wonder the bookcases reach the ceiling!
Not only books to see, but carved wooden reading tables, display cases in the center of the room for some of its greatest treasures, and more wonderful frescoes on the ceiling.
The artistic, valuable decoration shows the high regard the monks had for their library.
The ceiling fresco shows, and I quote.....
A symbolic depiction of Faith. In the center a female figure is recognisable; the allegory of Faith. She is surrounded by four groups of angels, who stand for the four Cardinal Virtues: Wisdom, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance. The four wooden sculptures are depictions of the four faculties: Theology, Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence."
"MOTION IS A SIGN OF LIFE," was the title of the next Museum room.
QUOTE.............."When I am in motion I see only one side, one aspect. Some things are unclear; I see only parts, not the whole.
When I am in motion, on my way, I am continually reaching new shores, getting to know the world, other people, and myself. I always have a new goal.
Being on the move causes unrest, but this unrest enables me to move, lets my heart grow wide.
Being on the move has a great destination. As long as I am moving towards this destination I am looking in a mirror and see only a dim reflection.
When I arrive at my destination I shall be seeing face to face."
It was in this room where there the Melk Abbey had been built to scale. It was interesting to view, to see how many buildings this Abbey had, and how much area the whole Abbey covered!
This Museum room was known as 'HEAVEN ON EARTH'
Another room with beautiful frescoes on the walls. Monasteries had become important points of spiritual, cultural and church life. Art flourished, and an art form developed showing joy in splendor, in large forms and in color, in everything that was simply beautiful and good. This art work was all around the rooms and the displays.
Out of the Marble room we come, and into the invigorating fresh air!
We are now at the West Terrace, where there are wonderful views of the town of Melk. I could see the Church and the lines of streets, and the Danube river. The terrace is the balcony connecting the Marble Hall and the library.
Departure from the Emperor's corridor led us to some rooms which have been converted into a museum devoted to the abbey's history, and now also house many of its treasures.
I took some photo's in the room known as "A House for God and Man."
These treasures came about as "The Babenbergs" wanted prayers to be said at the tomb of their ancestors in Melk. They donated important relics and works of art including the corpse of St. Coloman, a piece of the Cross of Christ and a portable altar.
The Melk Cross was stolen, but did eventually return to Melk.
Among the treasures is a 16th-century steel strongbox weighing 2,000 pounds when empty and equipped with twenty locks that snap shut at the turn of a tiny key, incredible!
Another I liked had carved marble inlay around its sides.