Wachau Cultural Landscape

The Wachau is a stretch of the Danube Valley between Melk and Krems, a landscape that shows a remarkably-preserved medieval landscape that has evolved organically over time. The architecture in the towns and villages shows the development of the region and its society over many centuries. The Wachau has inspired romantic legends for centuries and the castles are full of tales of love and heartbreak, particularly from the medieval days.

The beauty of the agricultural lands in the Wachau, which frame the banks of the Danube River, is undeniable. But for visitors, the attraction goes beyond superficial looks. This region has been worked for thousands of years and shows adaptations made necessary by climate and market. The area here provides a perfectly preserved mediaeval landscape—including architecture in the towns and villages—that has continued to change with the times at a human pace.

This beautiful stretch of the Danube has inspired romantic legends for centuries. Every structure holds tales of love and heartbreak, particularly from the Middle Ages. One story tells of King Richard the Lionheart of England who was imprisoned in a castle here. His loyal minstrel wandered the land singing a specific song and was able to find his king when Richard responded by singing back to him from his prison.

Wachau is considered one of Europe's most enchanting river valleys. Its treasures give travellers a behind-the-scenes look into the past and a blueprint for the future. This blueprint helped change European culture over the last millennia. For this reason, the Wachau Cultural Landscape was elevated to UNESCO World Heritage status in its entirety in 2000.



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