MelkMelk (older spelling: Mölk) is a city of Austria, in the federal state of Lower Austria, next to the Wachau valley. It is the site of a medieval castle along the Danube and the site of a massive Benedictine monastery, which was frequented by the Habsburg emperors.
Melk was presented the municipal law 100 years ago. On a very small area Melk presents so much architectural variety from many centuries.
The Forsthaus, which accommodates the city archives and the tourist information, is the starting point of the tour. Beside the Forsthaus the Zaglauergasse meets with the Wiener Straße. The Zaglauergasse is restricted on one side by remnants of the ancient city wall. At this junction one could find the Wiener Tor until 1874. It has been, as well as the Linzer Tor on the other side of the city, one of the two entrances to Melk throughout the centuries.
After several meters, the Wiener Straße opens to the affectionate restored Rathausplatz, which got its name from the 1575 built Rathaus. The recent facade of the town hall was redesigned 150 years ago and the highly elaborate entrance door, made of wood and copper, is the outstanding eyecatcher of the town hall.
To its left you can find the former Lebzelterhaus, which dates back to 1657 and which nowadays is a pharmacy. To the right you can see a profane building from the middle ages. The Kolomanbrunnen (market fountain), which is a gift from the abbey to the city, is in the centre of the Rathausplatz. On the top of the fountain the statue of the Holy Koloman can be seen.
The old bread store with its tiny towers is about 400 years old and still covered with the original shingle roof. Behind the old bread store extends the oldest lane of Melk – the Sterngasse. It was a main street in former times. Houses with interesting wall paintings indicate the former purpose of the buildings. Some other houses consist of fascinating courtyards.
The hidden Haus am Stein (house at the rock) is the oldest building of Melk. It was built during the 15th century. Its facade is covered by a protected ancient vine. At the arm of the Danube river, parts of the former city walls and the Round Tower can be recognised. Following the Nibelungenlände and passing the Salzhof, the visitor reaches the Schiffsmeisterhaus with its high water level marks on the facade. The Danube climbed up to 15,8 Meters above the usual water level in 1501.
The Haus auf dem Stein (house on the rock) was built less than 50 years after this high water disaster. It was used as an atelier by the well- known Austrian painter Walter Prinzl. The counterpart of the Wiener Tor, the Linzer Tor, was located at the end of the Linzer Straße. Both gates do not exist anymore, but historical illustrations can be found at the city archives. At the corner of the Stadtgraben (moat), there is the defence tower, where parts of it are still in original condition.
At the end of the moat you can see the Ancient Post Office, which was built in 1792. Its facade is decorated with a beautiful relief created at the end of the baroque period. The Ancient Post Office is now used as an event- and convention centre. The church court is dominated by the Gothic Parish Church. Designed in the late gothic period and embedded in the northern facade, is the Kalvarienberggruppe, a significant sculpture. Before the main road connects to the Rathausplatz, a Memorial Tablet reminds one of the great Austrian composer Anton Bruckner.