From the Museum we head into to the Marble Hall, the ornate imperial banqueting chamber in the high baroque style.
When I entered here, it was WOW!!
There is no furniture at all, thank goodness for that, as I wandered like a zombie with my head & eyes to the ceiling.
The walls and ceiling are magnificently decorated, but it is the allegorical ceiling fresco, painted in 1731, depicting Reason guiding Humanity toward the Light of Civilization that I am attracted to.
The description of the fresco, and I quote.......
" In the centre is Pallas Athena on a chariot drawn by lions as a symbol of wisdom and moderation. Hercules can be seen to her left, symbolizing the force necessary to conquer the three-headed hound of hell, night, and sin. Both Pallas Athena and Hercules allude to Emperor Karl VI, who liked to be celebrated as a successor to the Roman emperors in the Hercules legend. The guest is shown the essence of the House of Habsburg: The ruler brings the people from dark to light, from evil to good."
A scene from the fresco encircles the walls and blends into the ceiling of the Marble Hall, it is wonderful! The floors and lower walls of the Marble Hall are faced with marble slabs of varying color. Of interest was, it is not all marble in here. The door frames are made of genuine marble, where-as the walls are of stucco marble.
The big brass grille set in the middle of the floor is an early central heating system that funnels hot air up into the banqueting hall from the kitchens underneath.
There are large windows providing plenty of light to illuminate the beautiful frescoes which are the highlight of this magnificent room.
An incredible room!
Time now to walk up the steps of the "Emperor's Stairway." Look up, look down, look around, there already is statues and scrolls!
This took us to the Emperor's Corridor which stretched for-ever! No wonder it felt like that, it is 644 feet long passageway of vaulted white stone, with richly decorated doors of rare wood down one side, leading to the once imperial chambers.
There was plenty of Art to see, these were paintings of Austrian monarchs. I really liked viewing these, golly they look different to the Monarch's of today.
We no sooner passed through one archway, and we are now about to pass through another.
More impressive architecture and in this court, is a Bastion built in 1718. Interestingly, the garden has been pulled out, and now this area is all gravel.
The Prelate's Courtyard is from where access is gained to the various wings of the monastery such a the school amd the museum,. At the far end on the left is an entry to the 640-foot-long Kaisergang (Emperor's Corridor) that is lined with portraits of Austrian rulers.
In the middle is a fountain, and above the entrance ways are more excellent sculptures.
Now we are on the bottom level and walking past well tended, trimmed hedges and gardens on one side, and the Abbey Restaurant on the other side.
The Entrance way is painted in yellow, as is the whole Abbey, and has many magnificent sculptures, worth taking a look at.... yes, I know you are in a hurry!!!
PRICES UNTIL – March 2013 with guided tour & without guided tour
Adults per person: € 11,50..... € 9,50
Per person (up to 19 years of age): € 6,00 .....€ 4,50
Family ticket: € 23,00 .....€ 19,00 (parents with their children up to 16 years of age)
Guided tours in English April - October @ 10.55am & 2.55pm
May - September 9 - 5.30 pm
April - October 9 - 4.30 pm
From May to October.....the abbey park can be visited.
Since 2011, you can visit the northern bastion. There is no additional charge for the abbey park
and bastion if a ticket for the monastery has already been purchased.
The abbey park can be visited individually, there are no guided tours in the abbey park. It is open 9 - 6pm
We did a guided tour which comprises the abbey museum in the former Imperial Rooms, the Marble
Hall and the library. Length of the tour was 1 hour, and we were very happy with our guide. An interesting tour.
The abbey church and the bastion can be visited individually after the guided tour.
Allow at least 2.5 - 3 hours to visit everything.
Out of the car, we now walk past the many buses to where there are great views of the town of Melk. Stop here for a look, because the view is great!
There are two ways to reach the lower level, which will take us to the entrance.
The first, is down many steps, where I had great views of the gardens and entrance way.
For people with wheel-chairs or walking disabilities, then there is a paved track to the bottom.
Melk Abbey was founded in 1089 when Leopold II, Margrave of Austria gave one of his castles to Benedictine monks from Lambach Abbey.
It is an Austrian Benedictine abbey, and one of the world's most famous monastic sites.
As we drove into the town of Melk, the Abbey which sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Danube, towered above the town. Today's impressive Baroque abbey was built between 1702 and 1736.
We were travelling by Car, so all we had to do, was follow the signs to Stift Melk, and this took us to a large Abbey car park. There were plenty of trees for shade, and empty spaces for cars. I was surprised by the huge quantity of Buses here!
THE CAR PARK IS FREE
I really looked forward to this, as I am a big lover of Books---The main room with all the books is really magnificent and very aproachable--I have been to Libraries around the world where you had to look through iron gates to see any books---think Strahov in Prague and the British Library....You could actually touch some of these books, obviously not a good idea, but amazing to be so close. The books, the ceiling and the famous globe all make for a fine end to our tour of the famous Melk Abbey.
If, like us, you are docked on the Danube, and you get a bus ride up to the Abbey and Library, if you have the choice and the time, you should definitely walk back to your ship through Melk proper. Of course, it is all downhill, and you get to see a little of the local character as well as stopping for snacks, or coffee or a beer! We found fresh picked strawberries from the field down the road in the window of Karl Gundacker's Melk meat market! (since 1906)
We had hired a car and guide to take us to some towns away from Vienna for the day, and this is one of the places he brought us to. It's certainly impressive enough and more or less defines the style, baroque. It's about 1000 years old and has room after room of impressive art, decor, and contents. The library is especially impressive.
Today an interesting day, partly with a ferry from Melk to Spitz through perhaps the most beautiful part of the Danube valley, the Wachau. Total distance about 64 km, 15 km with the ferry and 49 km with the bike.
From Ebersdorf / Lehen across the dam to the southern bank to the pier of the ferry. The 50-minute boat trip with wonderful weather was beautiful and from the ferry (by enjoying a cappuccino) we enjoy the beautiful nature in this Wachau region.
From Spitz further with the bicycle over the northern bank through a beautiful Danube terrace along an interesting church St. Michael, cozy and colorful villages as Wösendorf and Weissenkirchen, through and along vineyards to the famous town in the Wachau, Dürnstein.
Dürnstein, with her church with a blue and white tower and narrow streets with colorful houses, is definitely worth visiting. The place is also known because King Richard the Lionheart was here in the winter of 1192-93 in prison. After the visit further via Unterloiben to Stein. Here across the Danube to Mautern on the southern bank. It's also possible to drive from Stein to Krems and then to the south bank to go. Krems is the oldest city in Lower Austria, with baroque citizen-houses with renaissance-arcades, gothic bay windows and a criss-cross of medieval streets.
In the past we have visited the city and can recommend this city to visit.
From Krems is the Wachau to the end and is the beauty of the Danube route gone out of it. From Mautern to Traismauer row you over the Danube Dijk and you have the feeling to cycling along a large lake. By Palt you have the possibility to 10 km away monastery Göttweig to visit. Near Gasthaus on the Danube to the exit Traismauer taken. Our destination for today and an old charming town about 2.5 km out of the Danube river.
For a visual impression of this bicycle day see my home made video Ebersdorf/Lehen - Traismauer
These long, elegant corridors, half open to the air, are lined with doors which seem to hide a world of secrets - until one opens to allow a monk or priest to make his way to the end - to another office or perhaps, sometimes for a breath of fresh air in the garden.
The Church is for many people the highpoint of a visit to the Abbey - as it was intended to be .
In the late 17thC. improvements and redecoration in the Baroque style were planned but, in 1701, Abbot Berthold Dietmayr decreed that it should be entirely reconstructed, and had plans drawn by one Jakob Prandtauer.
Masters in the fields of sculture, woodcraft,art and design were brought together from all over Europe to complete the interior in all its baroque glory.
The last restoration of the church took 10 years and was completed in 1987 so the colours - red marble, paintings, frescoes and gleaming gold still have a blinding freshness.
For my taste there is a touch too much of everything here but the overall effect of the florid décor and design are quite breathtaking as you enter for the first time.
Access to the Abbey is quite steep and there are quite a few steps to negotiate before you get to the entrance.
Before you go inside it is worth while having a look around from some of the raised vantage point.
Try to take in the enormous, overall size of the Abbey, its Church, connecting rooms, galleries and grounds.
Inside, a superb scale model will help to put it all into perpective.
This is the famous spiral staircase inside Melk, in the library area. The stairs goes to another part of the library, not open to the public.
Similar spiral staircase is the one at the Louvre, but this one at Melk is nicer imho.
In a Benedictine monastery the second important place after the church was the library. The room itself is a wonder, but the true treasure are the books, manuscripts and very old prints kept there.
From the total of approximately 100.000 books in the library of Melk monastery, 16.000 are found here in this room.