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Cycling Along the Danube

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

My first week cycling along the #Danube, I stopped in #Melk, the site of a major abbey, #StiftMelk, sitting on a hill overlooking the town and the river. Nearby, but not on the bike route, was #StPolten, where a cathedral stood. Arranging with the tour provider, I stayed an extra night, and took the train to #SanktPölten, a 30-minute ride. I strolled through town, found the church, #DomMariäHimmelfahrt, sitting on a corner overlooking a busy municipal parking lot. The building itself, from the outside, was unimpressive, but the interior was stunning.

With a single tower, the footprint from outside makes it look smaller, but the ornate vault down the center aisle gives the interior a sense of vastness. The ceiling has a series of murals that continue to the galleries above the side aisles, and a dozen large oil paintings portray Christian history. The pews are dark wood, and the marble floor is a two-toned diamond pattern. The bishop’s chair was simple, but on a raised platform back in front of the high altar, behind the Vatican II new altar table. Gilded in gold, with pink marble insets in the columns, the whole church was a feast for the eyes. When including it in my book, I selected a picture of the ornate and beautiful vault, rather than exterior parking lot view.

There is large and peaceful courtyard, a nearly empty cloister with a formal garden and covered walkways surrounding the four sides. The cathedral has a nice treasury and museum on the first upper level, entered through the cloister. Episcopal offices are at the head of the stairs, but when I was there, no one stopped me for the entry fee, so I was able to roam at will. I remember most the several oil paintings, but photography was prohibited, so I have no memory aids.

#cathedrals #Danube #Austria

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