St. Pölten, the youngest of Austria's regional capitals, combines Baroque and modern architecture like no other Austrian city.
Located just half an hour west of Vienna, St. Pölten is well worth a visit on its own. The capital of Lower Austria features both an enchanting Old Town and striking contemporary architecture. What's more, it makes a great base to explore all the sights the province has to offer.
Must-Sees in St. Pölten
Stroll through several delightful old town squares - the Herrenplatz, the Rathausplatz and Riemerplatz - adorned with beautiful Baroque and Jugendstil facades. Visit the oldest business of the city, the "Löwen Apotheke" (the lions pharmacy), the Rathaus (town hall), the former Synagogue and the Franciscan Church. The very modern government district is easily recognisable by its remarkable architecture and features highlights such as the Festspielhaus, the Museum Niederösterreich, the Landtagsschiff and the Klangturm.
About St. Pölten
The capital of Lower Austria is the oldest documented town in Austria. The city charter, which was granted in 1159, even marks it as one of the oldest ones in Europe. The historic centre mainly goes back to the city's golden era in the 17th and 18th century, when its Baroque splendour rivalled that of Vienna.
The symbol of the Wachau Valley, just 20 minutes from St. Pölten, makes an easy day trip from the capital. The medieval Benedictine monastery with its steep, terraced vineyards overlooking the River Danube was founded in 1089. It is probably most famous for its library, with the main hall boasting an impressive 16,000 volumes and a ceiling fresco by Paul Troger. When visiting, it is easy to see why the Italian writer Umberto Eco drew inspiration from this site for his novel “The Name of the Rose” in which a monastic library plays a key role. The church itself features works from Baroque masters such as Antonio Beduzzi (interior design), Johann Michael Rottmayr and Paul Troger (frescos and altarpieces), and Guiseppe Galli-Bibiena (pulpit and high altar), and Lorenzo Mattielli and Peter Widerin (sculptures). Enjoy breathtaking panorama views from the semi-circular exterior terrace.