Melk is situated in Austria's wine-growing region and the
gateway to the scenic Wachau Valley. Its magnificent 11th century
Benedictine Abbey stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube
and town, the prestigious Marble Room and the Abbey Church,
generally considered one of the most beautiful baroque churches
north of the Alps. Initially a Roman frontier post, and later a
10th century Babenberg fortress, Melk was handed to the
Benedictines in 1089.
Its early renown around this time was based on its medieval
scholarship, as well as relics. Melk boasts by far the most
spectacular baroque monastery in Austria, perched on a high granite
base overlooking the Danube. Visible from miles away, the mustard
yellow building dominates the landscape, only accessible from the
east. The Old Town is not much bigger than the monastery but it is
still a delight to discover the pretty buildings.