One of my readers suggested that if I choose to go to Austria I should not forget to visit the city of Melk.
Library and Abbey
Situated about 150km from Vienna, one the bank of the Danube, with a great scenery (see the photos below), Melk is not really part of the usual tourist path, from what I can see, but it really has some incentives: first of all, here you can find Europe’s oldest library. The library is part of the Stift Melk, a massive baroque Benedictine abbey, with quite a history behind it.
The abbey was founded in 1089, the library was part of a school founded in the 12th century, a lot of manuscipts being actually produced there. The abbey you can see today was built between 1702 and 1736.
Now, there still is a school there, with approx. 900 students (maybe I can take my master’s degree there :D )
An interesting thing is that Umberto Eco, in his famous novel “The name of the Rose”, named one of the characters “Adso von Melk”, as a tribute to the abbey and its library.
Usually, when I go somewhere, I try to visit a lot of locations, both cultural and less cultural (well, can we call EuroDisney cultural? ), but Melk is also attractive to me because I intend to live several days in locations that are not important tourist locations (like Vienna or Salzburg), to get a taste of the way people with a different cultural background live day to day. And, who knows, hotels there might be a lot cheaper. So, if they have wireless, Melk, here I come :)
P.S.: I almost forgot, there is also a castle there. Do you know similar places I should go to? Small cities with great history? Not in Austria necessarilly.
Pictures below, after the jump.