“Trees are not known by their leaves, nor even by their blossoms, but by their fruits.”

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The town of Dürnstein
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Danube River at Dürnstein

The next stop on my tour of the Danube Valley was the lovely village of Dürnstein with its iconic blue abbey tower. Dürnstein’s claim to fame is that the English king Richard I, the Lionheart, was held captive here in the 12th century. Leopold V, the Duke of Austria, captured Richard on the accusation that the English king had arranged the murder of Conrad of Montferrat. Apparently Richard had also thrown (or had thrown) Leopold’s standard from the walls of Acre during a battle there while on Crusade. Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard’s mother, was charged with not only ruling his kingdom while he was away on Crusade, but then she gathered and paid his ransom. The fruits Richard should have learned from this adventure? Don’t be a jerk.

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Dürnstein
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Part of Dürnstein Castle
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Dürnstein figures prominently in medieval legends of minstrels
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Dürnstein alley
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Street in Dürnstein
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Street in Dürnstein
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Fun building in Dürnstein

Dürnstein Abbey has a beautiful church with its distinctive blue tower as mentioned; however, the abbey itself was dissolved by Emperor Joseph II in 1788. Joseph was a frugal man but also a student of the Enlightenment. He believed that faith should compel men to action, so he closed any abbey or monastery that didn’t have a direct service to the people. He insisted the church redistribute the monks to new parishes to better serve their congregants.

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Dürnstein Abbey
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Elaborate archway into the abbey courtyard
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Detail of the arch into Dürnstein abbey
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Unique color scheme on the entryway into the abbey courtyard
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Archway into the abbey courtyard
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Detail on the door into the abbey courtyard
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One of two sundials in the abbey courtyard
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The other sundial in Dürnstein Abbey courtyard
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Entrance to Dürnstein Abbey
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Dürnstein Abbey tower

Title quote: Eleanor of Aquitaine

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Some homes in Dürnstein are built right into the hillside, like this very Austrian home
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This plaque was placed by French troops who took the town on their conquest of Austria during the Napoleonic Wars
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Dürnstein homes and vineyards
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Dürnstein home built into the hillside
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Dürnstein Castle
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Street in Dürnstein

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