Medieval castles in 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

Arnoldstein Abbey Ruins

Arnoldstein is a former Benedictine abbey. A fortress at the site was first mentioned about 1085/90, then held by ministeriales of the Bamberg prince-bishops who had received extended Carinthian estates from the hands of Emperor Henry II on the occasion of his coronation in 1014. To strengthen his episcopal authority, Bishop Otto of Bamberg had the castle slighted and established a Benedictine convent at the site in 1106. ...
Founded: c. 1080 | Location: Arnoldstein, Austria

Altes Schloss

The Altes Schloss or old castle, originally – since the 13th century – the heart of an extended hunting ground, surrounded by moats and equipped with numerous ancillary buildings, today forms an important visual motif in the gardens. It became a Habsburg possession in 1333 and was extended in the 17th century by Lodovico Burnacini. After an attack by the Turks in 1683, this building was reconstructed in 1693 ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Laxenburg, Austria

Persenbeug Castle

The first historical mention of the Persenbeug Castle dates from 970 AD when Bavarian Count of Semt and Ebersberg took possession of site and fortified it. Until 1593 it was owned by the Austrian imperial house. Then it went to the Hoyos family. The current appearance dates mainly from the 16th century. In 1800 Emperor Franz I of Austria bought the castle and the Persenbeug estate as a free private property. Today Persen ...
Founded: 970 AD | Location: Persenbeug, Austria

Clam Castle

Clam castle was built in 1149 by Otto von Machland who owned all of Upper Austria. At that time it was a fortress consisting of two towers over 30 meters high. These two impressive buildings, one round and one rectangular, still exist in the very same shape today. Soon after Otto von Machland died, the castle fell into the hands of robber barons. They were feared by the people of Upper Austria and excommunicated by the c ...
Founded: 1149 | Location: Klam, Austria

Raabs Castle

Raabs Castle, situated on a steep rocky promontory above the confluence of the Thaya rivers, towers over the small town. Standing on the balcony is like standing on the bow of a ship sailing into the past. The castle was built around 1050. The castle is presently owned by the publisher Richard Pils and his family. The “province library” publishes numerous award-winning books and books are the focal point of t ...
Founded: c. 1050 | Location: Raabs an der Thaya, Austria

Feistritz Castle

Feistritz Castle in Ilz was built in the 12th century and mentioned in 1122. The current main building dates from 1570. The castle was restored and expanded after the fire in 1605.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ilz, Austria

Neu-Ems Castle

Neu-Ems (also known as Schloss Glopper) is a medieval castle in Hohenems. It was the fortification of the Lords of Ems. The castle is in the mountainside east of the town, in its mountain village Emsreute on a crest above the Rhine valley. Approved by Emperor Louis IV the Bavarian, Ritter Ulrich I. von Ems (Knight Ulrich I of Ems) in 1343 built a new castle to have a comfortable home for his large family in dangerous tim ...
Founded: 1343 | Location: Hohenems, 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

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

Ehrenhausen Castle

Ehrenhausen Castle is well-preserved three-story and four-wing building from the 12th century. The castle was first mentioned in 1240. The current castle was built by the Eggenberg family in the 16h century. It was one of Austria′s numerous fortifications that secured the South and the East of the country against the Turks. On the castle hill there is also the mausoleum of Ruprecht von Eggenberg (1546-1611) and his ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ehrenhausen, Austria

Neuhaus Castle

Neuhaus castle was constructed in the mid-14th century by the House of Stubenberg. Records from 1375 document the name 'Hans from Neuhaus'. Later, the Drachsler family and the counts of Wurmbrand owned the castle. The counts of Wurmbrand reinforced the castle as the Turks threatened the area. Administration of the castle was later relocated to Altschielleiten. Around 1800 the castle was destroyed almost totally ...
Founded: c. 1350 | Location: Stubenberg, Austria

Ottenstein Castle

The mighty shingle-covered cone and hipped roofs of Ottenstein Castle are an impressive sight. Antique fairs, art and other special exhibitions are regularly held in the castle. Of particular interest to art-lovers is the Romanesque castle chapel with vaulted ceilings decorated with monumental frescos dating back to about 1170. There is also a restaurant. One of Ottenstein family members was first mentioned in 1177, but ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ottenstein, Austria

Golling Castle

Golling Castle is located on a strategically important location along the Salzach river. There were probably a watchtower already in the Roman times. The current castle was built in the 13th century. Later it was owned by the Archbishop of Salzburg. Today the castle hosts a local museum.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Golling an der Salzach, Austria

Griffen Castle Ruins

Griffen castle was built between 1124 and 1146 by order of Bishop Otto of Bamberg. In an 1160 deed, Emperor Friedrich I mentioned Grivena as a Bamberg property. In 1292 the Carinthian nobleman Count Ulrich von Heunburg with support of Archbishop Konrad IV of Salzburg occupied the fort in an uprising against Albert of Habsburg, the son of King Rudolph I of Germany and Duke Meinhard II. However Ulrich was abandoned by his ...
Founded: 1124-1146 | Location: Griffen, Austria

Schönbühel Castle

Schönbühel castle origins date from the early 12th century. The castle is built on rock approximately 40 metres above the level of the river Danube. A Roman fortress may have stood there before. The castle was begun in the early 12th century by Marchwardus de Schoenbuchele as a defensive fortress. When his descendant Ulrich von Schonpihel died at the beginning of the 14th century, the family was extinguished. Th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Schönbühel-Aggsbach, Austria

Finkenstein Castle

Finkenstein Castle was first mentioned in 1142. It was owned by the Dukes of Carinthia who gave it to their ministeriales, who called themselves after the castle von Finkenstein. In 1223 there was a dispute between Heinrich von Finkenstein and Bishop Henry of Bamberg, the owner of the nearby castle Federaun regarding the crossing of the river Gail. After the extinction of the Carinthian Finkensteins at the beginning of th ...
Founded: c. 1142 | Location: Finkenstein am Faaker See, Austria

Hohenburg Castle Ruins

Burgruine Hohenburg auf Rosenberg is a ruined medieval castle probably erected in the late 11th century. The castle was first mentioned as castrum Hohenburc in an 1142 deed. It was then the seat of a Bavarian noble family, who as Counts of Lurn administered the Lurngau region within the Duchy of Carinthia. The last count, Altmann, had become Prince-Bishop of Trent in 1124, and upon his death in 1149, the castle was beques ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Spittal an der Drau, 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

Heinfels Castle

Heinfels castle stands in the Puster Valley, near the entrance to the Villgraten Valley. Although the town was first settled by Huns around 500 AD, a castle was not mentioned until 1243. It belonged to the County of Gorz, and was expanded on the west side in 1500. In 1526, it was besieged by Michael Gaismair and 2,000 soldiers seeking to overthrow Catholic rule in the area. Today it is privately owned.
Founded: c. 1243 | Location: Heinfels, Austria

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as well as a cathedral and several churches, the bishop's residence, and a Dominican monastery. Excavations have revealed foundations of buildings believed to date back to before 1100, which might have been erected by King Olav Kyrre. In the 13th century, until 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway and Holmen was thus the main seat of Norway's rulers. It was first enclosed by stone walls in the 1240s.

Of the medieval buildings, a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The royal hall, today known as Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, is the largest medieval secular building in Norway. The defensive tower, known in the Middle Ages as the keep by the sea, was built around 1270 by King Magnus VI Lagabøte, and contained a royal apartment on the top floor. In the 1560s it was incorporated by the commander of the castle, Erik Rosenkrantz, into a larger structure, which is today known as the Rosenkrantz Tower.

In the Middle Ages, several churches, including the Christ Church, Bergen's cathedral, were situated on the premises. These however were torn down in the period 1526 to 1531, as the area of Holmen was converted into a purely military fortification under Danish rule. From around this time, the name Bergenhus came into use. Building work on the Christ Church probably started around 1100. It contained the shrine of saint Sunniva, the patron saint of Bergen and western Norway. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of several royal coronations and weddings. It was also the burial site of at least six kings, as well as other members of the royal family. The site of its altar is today marked by a memorial stone.

In the 19th century, the fortress lost its function as a defensive fortification, but it was retained by the military as an administrative base. After restoration in the 1890s, and again after destruction sustained during World War II, Bergenhus is today again used as a feast hall for public events. During World War II, the German navy used several of its buildings for their headquarters, and they also constructed a large concrete bunker within the fortress walls. The buildings, including the Haakon's Hall, were severely damaged when a Dutch ship in the service of the German navy, carrying approximately 120 tons of dynamite, exploded on 20 April 1944 in the harbour just outside the fortress walls, but the buildings were later restored.

Bergenhus is currently under the command of the Royal Norwegian Navy, which has about 150 military personnel stationed there. The fortifications Sverresborg fortress and Fredriksberg fortress also lie in the centre of Bergen. Haakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are open for visits by the public. Koengen, the central part of Bergenhus Fortress is also known as a concert venue.