Distance from base: 560 km
Vienna is the capital and one of the largest cities of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.731millionand is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 9th-largest city by population in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century it wasthe largest German speaking city in the world, and before the first world war and the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire the city had 2 million inhabitants. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city lies in the east of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Melk Abbey has been a spiritual and cultural center of the country for more than 1000 years, first as a castle for the Babenbergs, then from 1089 as a Benedictine monastery, founded by Margrave Leopold II. Since the 12th century a school has been connected with the monastery, and valuable manuscripts have been collected and created in the library. In the course of the monastery’s history, members of the Melk monastic community have achieved significant success in the fields of natural science and the arts. In the 15th century, the monastery was the starting point of one of the most important medieval monastic reforms, the “Melk Reform”, and had close ties to the Humanists at the University of Vienna. The magnificent baroque building has been undergoing extensive restoration work since 1978, and large-scale adaptations have been carried out for the areas of the school, the guest house, culture, and tourism. In this way Melk Abbey presents itself to visitors today as one of Austria’s highlights and as Europe’s great cultural ensemble.
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