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

Goseck Circle

The Goseck circle is a Neolithic circle structure. It may be the oldest and best known of the Circular Enclosures associated with the Central European Neolithic. It also may be one of the oldest Solar observatories in the world. It consists of a set of concentric ditches 75 metres across and two palisade rings containing gates in places aligned with sunrise and sunset on the solstice days.

Its construction is dated to c. 4900 BC, and it seems to have remained in use until 4600 BC. This corresponds to the transitional phase between the Neolithic Linear Pottery and Stroke-ornamented ware cultures. It is one of a larger group of so-called Circular Enclosures in the Elbe and Danube region, most of which show similar alignments.

Excavators also found the remains of what may have been ritual fires, animal and human bones, and a headless skeleton near the southeastern gate, that could be interpreted as traces of human sacrifice or specific burial ritual. There is no sign of fire or of other destruction, so why the site was abandoned is unknown. Later villagers built a defensive moat following the ditches of the old enclosure.

The Goseck ring is one of the best preserved and extensively investigated of the many similar structures built at around the same time. Traces of the original configuration reveal that the Goseck ring consisted of four concentric circles, a mound, a ditch, and two wooden palisades. The palisades had three sets of gates facing southeast, southwest, and north. At the winter solstice, observers at the center would have seen the sun rise and set through the southeast and southwest gates.

Archaeologists generally agree that Goseck circle was used for observation of the course of the Sun in the course of the solar year. Together with calendar calculations, it allowed coordinating an easily judged lunar calendar with the more demanding measurements of a solar calendar.