"St Colman and Melk - The Irish Connection" Top 5 Page for this destination Melk by Ekaterinburg
Melk Travel Guide: 219 reviews and 852 photos
This is the town of Melk, a swirl of red roof tiles and small streets, seen from the Monastery which bears the same name. This monastery, run by the Benedictines since 1089 is of special interest to the Irish and on December 2006, a band of 28 pilgrims led by a German woman lecturing at University College Cork, retraced the steps of St Colman of Melk and remembered the connections between Ireland and Austria. St Colman (Koloman) is one of the two Patron Saints of Melk and he has been venerated in this area since the 11th century. Colman was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem when he was arrested in Stacherau and because he spoke no German, was convicted of being a spy. Sentenced to death, he was hanged between two thieves and his body left dangling on the gibbet. Over 18 months the body suffered no damage or decomposition and flowers and plants supposedly sprung from the scaffolds where he hung. Many miracles were attributed to him and eventually the remains were transferred to Melk where part of his thigh bone is interred in a sarcophicus in the church. Other parts of Colman are buried throughout Europe but it is here at Melk that he is principally remembered.
Historical sources list Colman as being of Irish or Scottish origin but in our minds there is no question, he is definitely one of our own. Just a mile or so from Melk, as you rejoin the main road back to Vienna, there is a statue of poor Colman with the noose around his neck.
Even if you're not an Irish 'pilgrim' checking up on St Colman, there are still plenty of reasons to visit Melk. Firstly, it's an easy side-trip to make from Vienna, either by car, train or boat. Secondly, you will pass through the Wachau area, one of Lower Austria's most scenic parts and finally if you are a lover of art, architecture or history, you will find Melk absolutely fascinating. After the monastery tour you can relax at the restaurant which serves a tasty lunch at a very reasonable price and then stroll downhill to explore this pretty little town.
Definitely a worthwhile and enjoyable trip.
This photo I took outside a gift shop in Melk. The whole town was filled with pretty decorations but these particular... more travel advice
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- "Melk, a beautiful place and its baroque monastery"
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