Weissenkirchen in der Wachau:
Danube River Valley at its best
„Weissenkirchen" means „white church" and this name refers to the village′s impressive multi-purpose church, which served both as a centre of worship and a fortification to protect the villagers from plundering Turks. It was originally built in the 14th century, but the defence tower was added in 1531. Similar to many other churches in Austria, the interiors are a rather unimpressive mix of Gothic and Baroque art.
Taking a walk around the village won′t take much time. It′s the surroundings that make Weissenkirchen attractive: The Danube, the very smooth hills and the vineyards. The most important wines in this part of the Wachau are Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. If you want to learn more about the area′s wine-y heritage, try the Wachaumuseum in Weissenkirchen. Alongside with interesting facts on wine culture and wine′s importance for the local economy, you can marvel at some nice pieces of artwork.
This includes several paintings by the Kremser Schmidt (for more on him read the article on Krems) and some items explaining the way salt trade added to the Wachau′s wealth. The museum is located in the Teisenhoferhof building, which dates back to the 16th century and has a very nice courtyard.
Tacky Movies Made in the Wachau
Austrians remember Weissenkirchen as the site where "Hofrat Geiger" was filmed. Back in the 1950ies and 1960ies, when people were keen on forgetting the war and enjoying life again, Austria′s film industry (yes, such thing exists) spun out several movies not dissimilar from today′s Bollywood pieces or 1960ies Hollywood musicals: Tacky, light-hearted and entertaining, aimed to charm the audience with a romantic and idyllic setting, a foreseeable plot and seriously bad music.
Due to the general picturesque-ness of the Wachau, it featured in several of these movies (many others were shot in the Salzkammergut for similar reasons). In a way, they followed the Austrian tradition of operettas - just on celluloid rather than on stage.
Nearby attractions include Dürnstein and Krems downstream the Danube, Spitz, Willendorf and Burg Aggstein upstream of it. If you travel by car or cycle and happen to be an avid cyclist, Melk, Göttweig Abbey and St Pölten are within reach.