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Christmas Markets along the Danube

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The photo album of this great trip is posted!

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Posted by rpickett 12:58 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Christmas Markets along the Danube


overcast 35 °F

We arrived at Linz at 0900 this morning, AMA uses this city for two excursions to Salzburg for their Christmas market. Since we had already been there and done that, I chose to just wander around the old part of the city and visit the Castle Linz Museum, which is quite remarkable.

In 2009 Linz, together with the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, was chosen as the European Capital of Culture. Since 1 December 2014 Linz is a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities (UCCN) network as a City of Media Arts. Cities receive this title for enriching the urban lifestyle through the sponsorship and successful integration of media art and involving society in these electronic art forms. Linz is well known for the Linzer torte, which is said to be the oldest cake in the world, with its first recipe dating from 1653. The city was founded by the Romans, who called it Lentia. The name Linz was first recorded in AD 799. It was a provincial and local government city of the Holy Roman Empire, and an important trading point connecting several routes, on either side of the River Danube from the east to the west and Bohemia and Poland from north to the Balkans and Italy to the south. Being the city where the Habsburg Emperor Friedrich III spent his last years, it was, for a short period of time, the most important city in the empire. It lost its status to Vienna and Prague after the death of the Emperor in 1493.

The most important objects relating to the art and cultural history of Upper Austria are shown in the renaissance building of the Linz Castle. Special focal points are collections of Gothic art and paintings from the 19th century, objects from the popular culture of Upper Austria, e.g. lovely traditional costumes and golden hats typical for the province, collection of arms and armors and the mintage cabinet. The permanent exhibition in the basement leads you back to the roots of Upper Austria, from the prehistory to the Romans and the Middle Ages.


Posted by rpickett 07:37 Archived in Austria Tagged linz Comments (0)

Christmas Markets along the Danube

Wachau Valley and Melk Abbey

snow 30 °F

We left Durnstein at about 0900 with a lovely light snow in the air, and its famous blue and white church, and headed into the Wachau Valley on the way to Melk. We arrived in Melk at 1300 and headed for our Benedictine Abbey Tour at 1500. I have been here twice before but had forgotten how magnificent the Abbey church is. As it is still and active Abbey and also a secondary school - they utilize all of the more than 1000 rooms - there was not photography inside,

Dürnstein was first mentioned in 1192 when, in the castle above the town, King Richard I of England was held captive by Leopold V, Duke of Austria, after their dispute during the Third Crusade. Richard the Lionheart had offended Leopold the Virtuous by casting down his standard from the walls at the Battle of Acre, and the duke suspected that King Richard ordered the murder of his cousin Conrad of Montferrat in Jerusalem. In consequence Pope Celestine III excommunicated Leopold for capturing a fellow crusader. The duke finally gave custody of the king to Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, who imprisoned Richard at Trifels Castle.

Melk Abbey was founded in 1089 when Leopold II, Margrave of Austria gave one of his castles to Benedictine monks from Lambach Abbey. A monastic school, the Stiftsgymnasium Melk, was founded in the twelfth century, and the monastic library soon became renowned for its extensive manuscript collection. The monastery's scriptorium was also a major site for the production of manuscripts. In the fifteenth century the abbey became the centre of the Melk Reform movement which reinvigorated the monastic life of Austria and Southern Germany. Today's Baroque abbey was built between 1702 and 1736 to designs by Jakob Prandtauer. Particularly noteworthy are the abbey church with frescos by Johann Michael Rottmayr and the library with countless medieval manuscripts, including a famed collection of musical manuscripts and frescos by Paul Troger.


Posted by rpickett 09:04 Archived in Austria Tagged melk Comments (0)

Christmas Markets along the Danube


sunny 35 °F

We spent the night in Vienna, and toured to the Schonbrunn Palace and its Christmas markets. The palace grounds were bustling today both tons of tourists and large numbers of school groups from Kindergarten through High School made the pilgrimage to the grounds. Schönbrunn Palace ) was the main summer residence of the Habsburg rulers, located in Hietzing, Vienna. The 1,441-room Rococo palace is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historic monuments in the country. Since the mid-1950s it has been a major tourist attraction. The history of the palace and its vast gardens spans over 300 years, reflecting the changing tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.

As arrived back on ship for lunch we got underway heading for Durnstein.


Posted by rpickett 07:52 Archived in Austria Tagged vienna Comments (0)

Christmas Markets along the Danube

Budapest to Vienna

sunny 36 °F

We left Budapest just after noon for the 28 hour transit to Vienna against a strong current. The highlight of the early evening was passing by Esztergom Basilica. It is the largest church and the tallest building in Hungary. Its inner area is 5,600 m². It is 118 m long and 49 m wide. It has a reverberation time of more than 9 seconds. Its dome, forming a semi-sphere, is situated in the middle, and it has 12 windows. It is 71.5 m high inside, with a diameter of 33.5 metres, and is 100 m high from outside, the stairs count 400 steps counted from the crypt. The altarpiece (13.5 × 6.6 metres, depicting the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by Girolamo Michelangelo Grigoletti) is the largest painting in the world painted on a single piece of canvas. The basilica is also known for Bakócz Chapel (named after Tamás Bakócz), built by Italian masters between 1506–1507 out of red marble of Süttő, its walls adorned with Tuscan Renaissance motifs. It is the most precious remaining example of Renaissance art in Hungary. The huge crypt, built in Old Egyptian style in 1831, is today the resting place of late archbishops, among others, József Mindszenty, famous for his opposition to both Nazi and Communist rule. After dinner the guests decorated the Christmas tree. We finally arrived in Vienna at about 3:30pm after transiting the Vienna Locks, and took a modified walking tour through the old city of Vienna and the Maria Theresa Christmas market. the Gluhwien was excellent!


Posted by rpickett 09:38 Archived in Austria Tagged danube Comments (0)

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