Romans, Monks, and Nazis in Melk
Melk’s most famous attraction, the magnificent Melk Abbey, sits on a bluff beside the Danube at the very spot where the ancient Romans once erected a fortress. The immense yellow Baroque structure—once a Babenberg palace, now an active seminary for men and women—dominates the skyline for miles around. Visit the monastery church (frescoes, cherubs, and a soaring dome) and a remarkable library where Umberto Eco researched his novel The Name of the Rose. The trompe l’oeil ceiling paintings in the library and in the Marble Hall give the illusion of ridiculous height. At the far end of the spiritual spectrum, the village of Melk served briefly as the site of a small concentration camp during WWII and its crematorium has been maintained as a memorial. The old town, formerly an important market center in Austria
, is full of architectural charm and its narrow lanes and sunny squares invite exploration.