The Melk Abbey was built by the Benedictine monks over 900 years ago. The abbey has suffered numerous fires, the plague, and war damage through the centuries. Its present high baroque form was constructed in the early 18th century, and many of era's most famous painters, sculptors, and stucco craftsmen worked on the abbey.
A visit to the abbey is well worth your time, because it is magnificent. The 640 foot Imperial Corridor runs the length of the museum, and its walls are covered with paintings of Austrian royalty. The Marble Hall has some spectacular stucco, and its ceiling fresco is impressive. The view of the village of Melk and the surrounding countryside as seen from the outdoor balcony is lovely. Anyone who loves books will enjoy the Melk Abbey Library with its 100,000 volumes of mostly religious leather-bound books. The baroque abbey church is one of the most ornate I have ever seen, with stucco and gold leaf covering everything in sight. The church builders' goal was to demonstrate what heaven looks like. It certainly is beautiful, although it was a little surprising to see the skeletons of two dead saints exhibited.
After touring the abbey, we walked down the hill to the village of Melk and spent some time exploring the town before walking back to the ship. In the afternoon, we had an onboard Viennese coffee house that included some delicious apple strudel before sailing for Passau.