Medieval castles in Austria

Kreuzenstein Castle

Kreuzenstein castle was constructed on the remains of an early medieval castle that had fallen into disrepair and was then demolished during the Thirty Years" War. Intended to be a family vault for the Wilczek family, it was rebuilt in the 19th century by Count Nepomuk Wilczek with money from the family"s large Silesian coal mines. Kreuzenstein is interesting in that it was constructed out of sections of medieva ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Leobendorf, Austria

Mauterndorf Castle

Burg Mauterndorf is probably built on the site of an old Roman fort that dates to 326 AD or earlier. It protected the Roman mountain road from Teurnia via Radstädter Tauern Pass to Iuvavum (present-day Salzburg) and served as a residence for the Roman administrator in the Noricum province. The original fort was destroyed during the Migration Period. A castle built on the site in later years was funded and supported ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Mauterndorf, Austria

Güssing Castle

Established around 1157, Burg Güssing is the oldest castle in Burgenland. In 1524, Francis I, Batthyány (1497–1566) received it and the associated lands. The family still retains ownership. Times changed and due to the modernization of warfare, the castle and fortress of Güssing slowly lost its strategic importance. In 1777 all guns were removed. Due to the high cost of maintenance and the introduc ...
Founded: c. 1157 | Location: Güssing, Austria

Landskron Castle

Landskron is a ruined castle northeast of Villach in the state of Carinthia. The estates around Lake Ossiach were first mentioned in an 878 deed issued by the East Frankish king Carloman of Bavaria, who granted them to the monastery of Altötting he had established shortly before. About 1024 the area was among the Carinthian possessions of one Count Ozi of the Chiemgau, probably a scion of the Otakar dynasty, who founded ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Gratschach, Austria

Hasegg Castle

Hasegg Castle construction was completed soon after 1300, when Hall was rapidly becoming the center of Tyrolean commerce and salt mining. The building was originally erected to protect the salt mines, the shipping industry, the bridge across the river Inn and the old Roman Road. The castle's mint was established by Sigismund, Archduke of Austria in 1477. The first dollar-size silver coin was struck in 1486. When Ferdinan ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Hall in Tirol, Austria

Freistadt Castle

Freistadt Castle was built, together with its bergfried, between 1363 and 1398, and was used to reinforce the fortifications of the town of Freistadt. Today the castle houses the tax office and the Mühlviertel Castle Museum. The building of the castle was begun in 1363 in order to bolster the town"s fortifications, Duke Rudolph IV the Founder issuing the orders for its construction. Until it was completed, all ...
Founded: 1363-1398 | Location: Freistadt, Austria

Liechtenstein Castle

Liechtenstein Castle is a castle near Maria Enzersdorf in Lower Austria bordering Vienna. The castle, originally built during the 12th century, was destroyed by the Ottomans in 1529 and 1683, and remained in ruins until 1884, when it was rebuilt. Liechtenstein Castle is the origin of the name of the Liechtenstein family, the ruling house of the country of the same name, which owned the castle from at least 1140 until the ...
Founded: c. 1140 | Location: Maria Enzersdorf, Austria

Kollmitz Castle Ruins

Kollmitz Castle is a ruined castle east of Raabs an der Thaya in Lower Austria. The castle was first mentioned in the 13th century and the construction of its main tower was completed in 1319. In the 14th century the castle was used as a district court with ownership changing often. In 1411 the Freiherr von Hofkirchen came into possession of the castle, whose family would control the castle for the next two centuries. Th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Raabs an der Thaya, Austria

Prandegg Castle Ruins

Prandegg Castle is an elongated castle on a hilltop adjacent to a collection of rocky cliffs. It lies between two valleys formed by the Waldaist River and the smaller Prandegg stream. The first written mention of the castle occurred in 1287. Prandegg was for centuries intimately connected with Markt Zell (today Bad Zell) and the nearby Zellhof Palace. Since the local boundaries changed in 1784, the castle now belongs to t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Schönau im Mühlkreis, Austria

Freisaal Castle

The scenic Freisaal Castle dates from the Middle ages. The oldest record of the building dates back to 1392. The name is derived from 'Freudensaal', meaning 'pleasure hall'. Its original purpose was just that: to serve as a pleasure castle for Prince Archbishop Pilgrim II. von Puchheim. Ernst von Bayern re-modelled the building in 1549. A fundamental change in the building′s structures was cause ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Landsee Castle

Landsee Castle was built in the 12th century. The mighty complex is one of Europe’s biggest defensive structures. The Esterhazy family has owned the fortress for centuries. In the 18th century a fire destroyed the bastion that was once thought of as impregnable. The view from the castle keep of the Pannonian plain, across to the Geschriebenstein and the foothills of the Alps, is unsurpassed. The imposing site, set ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Landsee, Austria

Hinterhaus Castle Ruins

The ruins of the Hinterhaus Castle originate from the 12th century. The castle dates back to the time of Kuenringers rule when it served as a strategic stronghold. From here they were able to rule the entire Wachau valley. Touring the ruins with the famous Red Gate gives visitors a good impression of what medieval defence methods were like. The ruins still offers visitors a fantastic view of the Danube river even today.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Spitz, Austria

Deutschlandsberg Castle

Deutschlandsberg Castle was first documented in 1153. The castle comprises Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles. Today Deutschlandsberg is a hotel and venue for weddings and other events.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Deutschlandsberg, Austria

Strassburg Castle

Straßburg Castle fas first time mentioned in 1147. It was built by Roman I, the bishop of Gurk. The chapel was built in the late 12th century, consisting of nave, chancel and apse. In the 14th century, the chapel was raised by one floor, and another floor was erected in the 15th century above the choir. The last modification to to the choir took place in 1682. In the 14th century, the eastern tower was built on the ...
Founded: c. 1147 | Location: Straßburg-Stadt, Austria

Tratzberg Castle

Documented for the first time in the 13th century the Tratzberg castle was used as former border stronghold against the Bavarians and as Emperor Maximilian’s I hunting lodge. In the late 15th century the former fortress was destroyed by fire. The Emperor did not rebuild Tratzberg but exchanged the ruin for a castle of the Taenzels, wealthy owners of a silver mine. They had built the first late Gothic part of today&r ...
Founded: 1500 | Location: Tratzberg, Austria

Sommeregg Castle

Sommeregg is a medieval castle near Seeboden situated in the foothills of the Nock Mountains. The castle was probably erected in the 12th century. The Lords of Sommeregg then served as ministeriales of Count Otto II of Ortenburg, who ruled over extended estates in Upper Carinthia, rivalling with the House of Gorizia and the Salzburg archbishops. In the 14th century, the Lords of Sommeregg achieved the knightly status of ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Seeboden, Austria

Falkenstein Castle Ruins

Falkenstein Castle in the Weinviertel region of Lower Austria was founded around 1050 by Emperor Henry III. 1106 Leopold III, Margrave of Austria purchased the castle, from then on it was owned by the rulers of Austria. 1572 Maximilian II sold Falkenstein to the Baron (later Count) of Trautson. In 1645, in the last period of the Thirty Years' War Falkenstein was conquered by Swedish forces, but not destroyed. Its decay b ...
Founded: c. 1050 | Location: Mistelbach, Austria

Oberkapfenberg Castle

Oberkapfenberg is mentioned in a document for the first time in 1173. The current castle was erected around 1264. It was the residence and administrative seat of the Counts of Stubenberg and the seat of the regional High Court for most of the Mürz Valley. Around 1550 it was converted into a Renaissance fortress that was abandoned in 1739 and fell into disrepair. After 1955 the Stubenberg Family rebuilt their ancestra ...
Founded: c. 1264 | Location: Kapfenberg, Austria

Rauhenstein Castle

Rauhenstein was probably built in the 12th century by the knights of Tursen. It was owned by local robber barons and frequently destroyed and rebuilt. The final decay took place in the 18th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Baden, Austria

Gösting Castle Ruins

The ruins of Gösting castle offer the perfect destination for a trek within easy reach of Graz. The steep but short ascent passes by the ‘Jungfernsprung’, the place from which, legend has it, the lovesick and grief-stricken Anna von Gösting threw herself to her doom. Further up, by the castle ruins, there are impressive views of the strategically important valley of the river Mur, Graz itself and the ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Graz, Austria

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.