Facts and Data
Unesco World heritage since: 2000
Size of heritage: 18,387 ha
- Buffer zone: 2,942 ha
The Wachau is a stretch of the Danube Valley between Melk and Krems, a landscape of high visual quality. It preserves in an intact and visible form many traces - in terms of architecture, (monasteries, castles, ruins), urban design, (towns and villages), and agricultural use, principally for the cultivation of vines - of its evolution since prehistoric times.
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Wachau Cultural Landscape: A Historic Gem in Austria
The Wachau Cultural Landscape, located in the towns of Krems and Melk in Lower Austria, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the rich history and natural beauty of the region. Spanning over 36 kilometers along the Danube River, this cultural landscape is a testament to the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature.
The history of the Wachau Cultural Landscape dates back to prehistoric times, with evidence of human settlements found in the area. However, it was during the Middle Ages that the region flourished, becoming an important trade route and center of cultural exchange. The towns of Krems and Melk played a crucial role in this development, with their strategic locations attracting merchants, artists, and scholars.
During the 11th and 12th centuries, the Wachau region witnessed the construction of numerous castles, monasteries, and fortifications, which still stand today as a testament to the architectural prowess of the time. The most iconic of these structures is the Melk Abbey, a magnificent Benedictine monastery perched atop a hill overlooking the Danube River. Its construction began in the 11th century and continued over several centuries, resulting in a stunning blend of architectural styles.
Throughout the centuries, the Wachau Cultural Landscape has been shaped by the Danube River, which has played a vital role in trade and transportation. The river facilitated the exchange of goods, ideas, and cultures, contributing to the region's economic and cultural growth.
Today, the Wachau Cultural Landscape stands as a living testament to the region's rich history and cultural heritage. The towns of Krems and Melk have preserved their medieval charm, with narrow cobblestone streets, well-preserved buildings, and vibrant town squares. Visitors can wander through the historic centers, admiring the architectural marvels and soaking in the unique atmosphere.
The Melk Abbey remains the centerpiece of the Wachau Cultural Landscape. Its grandeur and beauty continue to awe visitors from around the world. The abbey houses a museum, a library with a vast collection of manuscripts, and a breathtaking baroque church. The abbey's gardens offer a tranquil retreat, with meticulously manicured lawns and vibrant flower beds.
The Wachau region is also renowned for its vineyards, which produce some of Austria's finest wines. The terraced vineyards, carefully cultivated over centuries, create a picturesque landscape that adds to the region's charm. Visitors can explore the vineyards, participate in wine tastings, and learn about the winemaking traditions that have been passed down through generations.
Furthermore, the Wachau Cultural Landscape offers numerous outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. The Danube River provides opportunities for boating, kayaking, and cycling along its scenic banks. Hiking trails wind through the lush hills and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
In conclusion, the Wachau Cultural Landscape in Austria is a captivating UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the region's rich history, architectural wonders, and natural beauty. With its well-preserved towns, iconic structures like the Melk Abbey, and picturesque vineyards, it offers a unique blend of cultural and natural attractions that continue to captivate visitors from around the world.
Hotels and places to stay
Hotel Schloss Durnstein
Weinberghof & Weingut Lagler
Gartenhotel & Weingut Pfeffel
Videos from the area
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Large airport - 55 mi (89 km) Linz Airport
Medium airport - 58 mi (94 km) Brno-Tuřany Airport
Medium airport - 79 mi (128 km) M. R. Štefánik Airport
Large airport - 83 mi (134 km) Graz Airport
Medium airport - 95 mi (153 km) Pardubice Airport
Medium airport - 115 mi (185 km) Klagenfurt Airport
Medium airport - 130 mi (209 km) Maribor Airport
Medium airport - 131 mi (211 km) Ruzyně International Airport
Large airport - 131 mi (212 km) Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport
Large airport - 155 mi (250 km) Zagreb Airport
Large airport - 184 mi (296 km)
Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
- Emmersdorf an der Donau
- Krems an der Donau
- Maria Laach am Jauerling
- Sankt Margarethen an der Sierning
- Weinzierl am Walde
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.
- Elsarn am Jauerling
- Gut am Steg
- Maria Langegg
- Sankt Johann im Mauerthale
- Weissenkirchen in der Wachau
- Willendorf in der Wachau