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Dürnstein

The Chorherrenstift (pen) is the most photographed site in Durnstein, the Wachau

To the west of Krems is the delightful town on Dürnstein.  This small village somehow manages to maintain a medieval look and feel, even though it has succumbed, at least somewhat,  to modernization.

Dürnstein will not take much time to tour, but it is exceptionally well-preserved  and has a number of excellent restaurants that make it a favorite lunch stop for many travelers.

The town's church and its famed pen-like tower are one of the sights most photographed by those passing the town in tour boats.  The Chorherrenstift (a monastery) dates from the 13th century.  Note that the  tower is the most interesting aspect of the church and monastery and that the best views of it are from the Danube.

On the hill above Dürnstein are the ruins of Kuenringer Castle, the fortress where Richard the Lionheart, King of England, was held captive after being captured and held for ransom by Duke Leopold V (a Babenberg).  King Richard was returning from the Crusades in the Holy Lands when his ship foundered.  The sinking of his vessel left King Richard with limited funds and he decided to return to  England  by the least expensive means, an overland route.  Traveling in disguise and accompanied only by a small band of guards, he was captured by the Duke who knew that holding Richard could return a substantial ransom.

It was rumored that part of the King Richard's substantial ransom was used to rebuild Vienna and some say a portion of the ransom was spent on construction of the  Stephansdom, the cathedral of Vienna. A side-effect of the capture of the English king, was that Duke Leopold was excommunicated by the Pope, as he was judged to have wronged a Crusader working to support the goals of the church.

       Durnstein is a lovely town and winters adds even more abmiance

      Durnstein as seen from the Danube  The Castle where Richard the Lionheart was held captive in Durnstein

For more information about Dürnstein (sometimes spelled Duernstein) see the town's website (in German).

Only a short distance from Dürnstein, you will find the fabulous Benedictine Abbey hovering above both the Danube River and the town of Melk.

      Even when overcast and cold, the Abbey at Melk is an amazing sight.

Click here for our detailed guide to the Benedictine Abbey at Melk

Or return to the daytrips homepage on the Wachau and Krems.

 

Next - explore our menu on the right hand edge of this page to find other types of sightseeing in Vienna

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Vienna

Getting Started
Best Palaces
Best Churches
Best Music Venues
Best Museums and Galleries
Other Attractions
Best Shopping
Best Cafes
Best Day Trip
History of Vienna

Index of Places To Visit in Vienna

Best Places to Visit in Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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