Stift Melk (Melk Abbey), Melk, Austria

Melk Abbey, one of the biggest and most beautiful European Baroque ensembles, was constructed between 1702 - 1736; its splendid architecture is famous worldwide and a UNESCO World Cultur

Melk Abbey (photograph is of a scale model of the abbey), one of the biggest and most beautiful European Baroque ensembles, was constructed between 1702 and 1736; its splendid architecture is famous worldwide and is one of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage Sites, Melk, Austria

 

Melk Abbey is a Benedictine abbey above the town of Melk, Lower Austria, Austria, on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube River, adjoining the Wachau Valley.

“Melk Abbey is one of the biggest and most beautiful European Baroque ensembles. I ts splendid architecture is famous worldwide and part of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage [Sites].  The Baroque building situated on a rock overlooking the Danube, in the Wachau region, ranks as one of Austria’s most visited art-historical sites.  Since 1089, Benedictine monks have continually been living and working in Melk Abbey.  Following the rules laid down by St. Benedict, they try to translate into action the words ORA et LABORA et LEGE (pray and work and learn) by working in pastoral care and education (Melk Abbey Secondary School) as well as organizing cultural events.

ORA et LABORA et LEGE – PRAY, WORK, LEARN

“In a way, this is the Benedictines’ motto: the whole human being is challenged to contribute everything possible to the community which is searching God.  Body, soul and spirit merge to have a meaning of life which isn’t limited to this world, but leaves room for everything that goes beyond it.  Because of this Saint Benedict tells his monks to glorify God in all things, not only through their prayer, but also through their work and their daily willingness to learn.  “Never stop beginning”:  this is the ultimate goal to come clean with oneself, with others and with God and to lead a fulfilled life.” — www.stiftmelk.at/englisch/

 

The entrance from the gardens to Melk Abbey, situated above the Danube River in the Wachau Valley, Melk, Austria

The entrance from the gardens to Melk Abbey, situated above the Danube River in the Wachau Valley, Melk, Austria

 

An inner courtyard (Prelate_s Courtyard) of Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

An inner courtyard (Prelate’s Courtyard) of Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

 

The present Baroque abbey was constructed between 1702 and 1736.  The abbey survived through the reign of Emperor Joseph II (when many other Austrian abbeys were dissolved) and the Napoleonic Wars and confiscation by the state following the Anschluss in 1938; the school was returned to the abbey after WW II.  It now serves approximately 900 students of both sexes.

 

An insignia in the hall of mirrors, Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

An insignia in the hall of mirrors, Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

 

The marble hall with a ceiling fresco by Paul Troger (1731), Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

The marble hall with a ceiling fresco by Paul Troger (1731), Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

 

Paintings, “The Path to the Future” depicting the path of faith that looks for God in everyday life, Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

Paintings, “The Path to the Future” depicting the path of faith that looks for God in everyday life, Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

 

A view of Melk from the Melk Abbey, Wachau Valley, Austria

A view of Melk from the Melk Abbey, Wachau Valley, Austria

 

A view of Melk and the Danube River from the terrace of the Melk Abbey, Wachau Valley, Austria

A view of Melk and the Danube River from the terrace of the Melk Abbey, Wachau Valley, Austria

 

The library (no photography was permitted inside), Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

The library (no photography was permitted inside), Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

 

“The library is the second most important space in any Benedictine monastery, the first being, of course, the church.  he most important Baroque masters were commissioned with the artworks: Antonio Beduzzi for interior design, Johann Michael Rottmayr and Paul Troger for the frescos and altarpieces, Guiseppe Galli-Bibiena for the pulpit and high altar, and Lorenzo Mattielli and Peter Widerin for sculptures.  It is no surprise that the beauty of the church is breathtaking, as is the view from the semi-circular exterior terrace looking out over the Wachau Valley.” — www.austria.info/us/activities/culture-traditions/architectural-highlights-in-austria/melk-abbey-a-baroque-jewel

 

The interior of the Abbey Chapel, Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

The interior of the Abbey Chapel, Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

 

A colonnaded passageway in Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

A colonnaded passageway in Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

 

The Danube River and the Wachalu Valley as seen from the Colomon Courtyard (named for an Irish king_s son martyred in Stockerau, near Vienna, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1012), Mel

The Danube River and the Wachalu Valley as seen from the Colomon Courtyard (named for an Irish king’s son martyred in Stockerau, near Vienna, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1012), Melk Abbey, Melk, Austria

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Drink local, Eat local: The Wachau and Jamek Estate Winery, Vienna, Austria

We sailed on a river boat along the Danube River in the Wachau wine-growing region, Austria; this small town along the river has a beautiful church built under towering medieval ruins

We sailed on a river boat along the Danube River in the Wachau wine-growing region, Austria; this small town along the river has a beautiful church built under towering medieval ruins

 

From Vienna we spent one day exploring the region along the Danube River to the west. We drove to Dürstein in the Wachau wine-growing region — only 12 miles (19.3 km) long — and took a river cruise on one of the scheduled public boats to the west to Spitz, which marks the end of the Wachau.  We had arranged for a driver to pick us up there and take us back to the east to explore a little and then arrive at the Jamek estate in Joching for a wine tasting and luncheon on their beautiful terrace, overlooking the Jamek vineyards.  It is one of the leading estates in the Wachau region that now has 232 wineries in Austria’s smallest wine region.  Wines have been produced in the area since the Romans, and the monasteries at the beginning of the 10th century constructed many of the terraces used to plant the vineyards, making the Wachau an historic cultural landscape.

 

Each small town along the Danube had a church that dominated the skyline, Wachau wine-growing region, Austria

Each small town along the Danube had a church that dominated the skyline, Wachau wine-growing region, Austria

 

We ended our river cruise in the town of Spitz, Wachau wine-growing region, Austria

We ended our river cruise in the town of Spitz, Wachau wine-growing region, Austria

 

“The Wachua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and region of natural beauty, and lies in the Danube valley between the towns of Melk and Krems.  The wine grape varieties Grüner Veltliner and Riesling prevail on 1,344 hectares, partly on very steep-inclined terraces.  The best vineyard sites produce some of the best white wine in the world with decades of aging potential…  The Wachau is one of Austria’s most exciting and fascinating wine regions.  Over millions of years, the Danube has gorged its winding waterway through the consolidated gneiss and amphibolite.  The crystalline rock soils on steep terraces produce outstanding Rieslings.  During the Ice Age vegetation cover was poor and, prevailing winds carried drifting sand that settled in the lee of the east-facing crystalline hillsides, resulting in layers of loess.  This is where great, opulent and expressive Grüner Veltliner is cultivated.  The extremely diverse geological terrain, coupled with the construction of terraces in the best aspects, and the cultivation of vines on these steep inclines by the Bavarian monasteries during the Middle Ages, has resulted in a spectacular and unique Wachau landscape.” – www.austrianwine.com

 

Before setting off for the Jamek Estate Winery, we climbed a gentle walk up to the church in Spitz, Wachau wine-growing region, Austria

Before setting off for the Jamek Estate Winery, we climbed a gentle walk up to the church in Spitz, Wachau wine-growing region, Austria

 

The estate house at the Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria, dating back over 100 years

The estate house at the Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria, dating back over 100 years

 

“Embedded in the romantic landscape of the Wachau region [in Joching] and right next to the Danube [River], the classic Jamek estate is surrounded by vineyards and a few apricot trees.  A beautiful place, just perfect for enjoying. A competent team of committed people fulfills every culinary desire.  This is how the Jamek estate became an institution which enjoys great popularity in Austria and abroad – and for many years now…  Built under the name “Hotel Wachau” in 1912, this estate represents the epitome of successful hospitality.  Four generations, whose greatest desire has always been to please visitors to the Wachau region by offering the highest possible quality…  Delicious wines and fine food have a long tradition in the Jamek estate.  The family is committed to producing legendary wines such as the Riesling from the famous single vineyard Klaus.  Traditional practices are combined with modern methods in the winery.  Modern technology is a prerequisite for careful vinification, but the traditional ageing in wooden barrels makes the wines attractive…  Our main grape variety is Riesling, which is seconded by Grüner Veltliner.  We also cultivate some Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Chardonnay, and Gelber Muskateller, and naturally some red varieties as well: Zweigelt and Spätburgunder (Pinor Noir).  The three quality categories of the Wachau region: 1) Steinfeder: Light and fragrant – maximum of 11% alcohol, 2) Federspiel: Medium bodies Kabinett wines — maximum of 12.5% alcohol, and 3) Smaragd: The most full-bodied wines – at least 12.5% alcohol.” – Jamek estate brochure

 

Vineyards of Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria

Vineyards of Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria

 

New growth on the vineyards in spring at the Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria

New growth on the vineyards in spring at the Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria

 

The Jamek Estate Winery labels feature the estate house, Joching, Austria

The Jamek Estate Winery labels feature the estate house, Joching, Austria

 

Wine tasting of Jamek Estate Winery Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines, Joching, Austria

Wine tasting of Jamek Estate Winery Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines, Joching, Austria

 

A standout dish at our luncheon at the Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria, was scallops with fresh spring green asparagus with a side of potatoes

A standout dish at our luncheon at the Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria, was scallops with fresh spring green asparagus with a side of potatoes

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Hofburg Imperial Palace and Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Imperial Treasury), Vienna, Austria

The entrance to the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria, from Josefsplatz; one of the biggest palace complexes in the world, its oldest parts date to the 13th century, with construc

The entrance to the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria, from Josefsplatz; one of the biggest palace complexes in the world, its oldest parts date to the 13th century, with construction having continued into the 20th century

 

Vienna’s Hofburg Imperial Palace is one of the biggest palace complexes in the world.  The name translates as “Castle of the Court”, which denotes its origins when initially constructed during the Middle Ages.  The oldest parts date to the 13th century, with construction having continued right into the 20th century.  Since 1279 the Hofburg area has been the documented seat of government.  The Imperial Palace was the residence and seat of government of the Habsburg emperors until 1918.  Today, it is home to numerous museums with outstanding collections, the Spanish Riding School, a congress center, the seat of the Austrian Federal President (the official residence and workplace) as well as the historic Heldenplatz.

 

The equestrian statue of Emperor Joseph II, Empress Maria Theresa_s eldest son and successor, on Josefsplatz, Vienna, Austria, in front of the National Library which is part of the Hof

The equestrian statue of Emperor Joseph II, Empress Maria Theresa’s eldest son and successor, on Josefsplatz, Vienna, Austria, in front of the National Library which is part of the Hofburg Imperial Palace

 

Statues on the roof of the National Library that is part of the Hofburg Imperial Palace on Josefsplatz, Vienna, Austria

Statues on the roof of the National Library that is part of the Hofburg Imperial Palace on Josefsplatz, Vienna, Austria

 

The interior of the Augustinerkirche (Augustina Catholic Church) which was part of the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria

The interior of the Augustinerkirche (Augustina Catholic Church) which was part of the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria

 

Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (The Imperial Treasury) at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, contains a valuable collection of secular and ecclesiastical treasures covering over a tho

Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (The Imperial Treasury) at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, contains a valuable collection of secular and ecclesiastical treasures covering over a thousand years of European history; pictured is the Imperial Crown of the Austrian Empire

 

The most important treasury in the world is home to two imperial crowns as well as the Burgundian treasure and the treasure of the Order of the Golden Fleece.  The Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation is the highlight of the collection: Created in the second half of the 10th century, it was used to crown the empire’s emperors.  The octagonal crown was highly symbolic and is decorated with numerous biblical references.  The second important crown in the Imperial Treasury is the Austrian imperial crown.  It was made in 1602 as a private crown for Emperor Rudolf II (1552-1612).  From 1804, it acted as the crown of the newly created Austrian Empire. However, it was never used to crown an Austrian emperor.

 

The Austrian Crown Jewels is the term denoting the regalia and vestments worn by the Holy Roman Emperor, and later by the Emperor of Austria, during the coronation ceremony and other sta

The Austrian Crown Jewels is the term denoting the regalia and vestments worn by the Holy Roman Emperor, and later by the Emperor of Austria, during the coronation ceremony and other state functions, Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Imperial Treasury), Vienna, Austria; pictured is the Imperial Orb (the Imperial Crown is in the photo above)

 

Mantle of the Austrian Emperor, Vienna, 1830, made of velvet, guimped embroidery in gold, paillettes, gold braid, ermine, and silk; Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Imperial Treasury), Vie

Mantle of the Austrian Emperor, Vienna, 1830, made of velvet, guimped embroidery in gold, paillettes, gold braid, ermine, and silk; Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Imperial Treasury), Vienna, Austria

 

Ewer and basin used for Imperial baptisms, by a Spanish master, 1571, gold, partly enamelled; Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Imperial Treasury), Vienna, Austria

Ewer and basin used for Imperial baptisms, by a Spanish master, 1571, gold, partly enamelled; Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Imperial Treasury), Vienna, Austria

 

Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire, Western German (?), cross- circa 1020, arch- 1024 – 1039, gold, cloisonné enamel, precious stones, pearls; Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Imp

Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire, Western German (?), cross: circa 1020, arch: 1024 – 1039, gold, cloisonné enamel, precious stones, pearls; Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Imperial Treasury), Vienna, Austria

 

Potence (Chain of Arms or Chain of Office- Treasury) of the Herald of the Order of the Golden Fleece that was founded in Burgundy in 1430, Netherlandish, porobably 1517, gold, enamel;,Ka

Potence (Chain of Arms or Chain of Office: Treasury) of the Herald of the Order of the Golden Fleece that was founded in Burgundy in 1430, Netherlandish, probably 1517, gold, enamel; Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Imperial Treasury), Vienna, Austria

 

The Swiss Gate (Schweizertor) dating to 1552 is the original main gate of the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria and opens to the passage to the Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Impe

The Swiss Gate (Schweizertor) dating to 1552 is the original main gate of the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria and opens to the passage to the Kaiserliche Schatzkammer Wien (Imperial Treasury) and the Hofburg Chapel

 

An interior courtyard of the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria, leading to the Hofburg Chapel where the Vienna Boy_s Choir sings on Sunday mornings (we attended a service where

An interior courtyard of the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria, leading to the Hofburg Chapel where the Vienna Boy’s Choir sings on Sunday mornings (we attended a service where they sang Mozart’s Requiem)

 

Hofburg Imperial Palace’s Neue Burg section, St. Michael's Wing

Hofburg Imperial Palace’s Neue Burg section, St. Michael’s Wing (the wing is named in reference to St. Michael’s Church on the opposite side), facing the square (Heldenplatz or Hero’s Square), Vienna, Austria

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Vienna, Austria

Spring tulips blooming in the gardens of the magnificent imperial Schönbrunn Palace, the Hapsburgs_ summer palace within the city limits of Vienna, Austria

Spring tulips blooming in the gardens of the magnificent imperial Schönbrunn Palace, the Hapsburgs’ summer palace within the city limits of Vienna, Austria

 

Vienna, Austria’s capital, lies in the country’s east on the Danube River.  Its artistic and intellectual legacy was shaped by residents including Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud.  The city is also known for its Imperial palaces, including Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ summer residence.  In the MuseumsQuartier district, historic and contemporary buildings display works by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and other artists.

 

One of many sculptures in the garden of the imperial Schönbrunn Palace, the Hapsburgs_ summer palace within the city limits of Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Austria

One of many sculptures in the garden of the imperial Schönbrunn Palace, the Hapsburgs’ summer palace within the city limits of Vienna, Austria, Vienna, Austria

 

“Vienna is Austria’s primary city, with a population of about 1.8 million (2.6 million within the metropolitan area, nearly one third of Austria’s population), and its cultural, economic and political centre.  It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union.  Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants.  Apart from being regarded as the City of Music because of its musical legacy, Vienna is also said to be “The City of Dreams” because it was home to the world’s first psychotherapist  – Sigmund Freud.  The city’s roots lie in early Celtic and Roman settlements that transformed into a Medieval and Baroque city, and then the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  It is well known for having played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century.  The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, and the late-19th-century Ringstraße lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks.  Vienna is known for its high quality of life.  In a 2005 study of 127 world cities, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the city first (in a tie with Vancouver, Canada and San Francisco, CA, USA, for the world’s most livable cities).” — Wikipedia

 

Representative architecture in the heart of Vienna, Austria

Representative architecture in the heart of Vienna, Austria

 

St. Stephen's Cathedral (more commonly known by its German title- Stephansdom) is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna

St. Stephen’s Cathedral (more commonly known by its German title: Stephansdom) is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna and dates back to the founding of the church in 1137; Vienna, Austria

 

One of the grand residential buildings on the late-19th-century Ringstraße, Vienna, Austria

One of the grand residential buildings on the late-19th-century Ringstraße, Vienna, Austria

 

The 19th century Museum of Natural History, located on Maria-Theresien Platz (Plaza) is across from the Kunsthistoriches Museum (the Fine Arts Museum), Vienna, Austria

The 19th century Museum of Natural History, located on Maria-Theresien Platz (Plaza) is across from the Kunsthistoriches Museum (the Fine Arts Museum), Vienna, Austria

 

The monument to Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina (1717 – 1780), the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg, on Maria-Theresien Platz (

The monument to Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina (1717 – 1780), the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg, on Maria-Theresien Platz (Plaza) with the museums surrounding it, Vienna, Austria

 

 

A typical Viennese café in the old quarter of Vienna, Austria

A typical Viennese café in the old quarter of Vienna, Austria

 

We had lunch at Demel, famous for its chocolates and pastries, in the old quarter of Vienna, Austria

We had lunch at Demel, famous for its chocolates and pastries, in the old quarter of Vienna, Austria

 

Fruit tarts at Demel in the old quarter of Vienna, Austria

Fruit tarts at Demel in the old quarter of Vienna, Austria

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.