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The architectural elegance of its ancient monasteries (Melk Abbey and Göttweig Abbey), castles and ruins combined with the urban architecture of its towns and villages, and the cultivation of vines as an important agricultural produce are the dominant features of the valley.
Even before the Neolithic period brought in changes in the natural environment of the valley, Palaeolithic's records of the valley have been identified in the form of "figurines" in Galgenberg and Willendorf stated to be 32,000 years and 26,000 years old respectively that testify to human occupation in the valley.
He was finally released after paying a kingly ransom of 35,000 kg of silver.
According to myth, the king's freedom was facilitated due to the efforts of his French aide Blondel.
This had a profound impact on the religious culture of the valley with many churches, chapels and other monuments being built in the valley.
However, substantial changes in the landscape were witnessed during medieval period from the 9th century with establishment of the Bavarian and Salzburg monasteries.
The 11th century marked an Austrian dukedom of Babenberg under Henry I, in 1156; it came under the great knightly family of the Wachau, the Kuenrings and later passed on to the Babenberg.
With the dissipation of this line of rule, Duke Albrecht V (King Albrecht II) came to power in 1430.
However, stone as building material was introduced in the 15th and 16th centuries to replace the old wooden structures by the peasants and the burghers.
Since 1950, the residential complexes have appeared in the upper periphery of the valley.
In 15 BC, the Celtic kingdom of Noricum became part of the Roman Empire.