Medieval castles in Austria

Rappottenstein Castle

Rappottenstein is one of the best preserved castles in Austria. It was founded around 1150 Rapoto of Kuenring. Since several owners it was acquired by Abensperg and Traun family in 1664, who still owns the castle. During the course of the centuries a fortification with five baileys and eight gates was constructed. The touch of luxury surrounding the interior is unexpected and comes as something of a surprise to the visit ...
Founded: c. 1150 | Location: Rappottenstein, Austria

Hardegg Castle

Hardegg Castle was first mentioned in an 1145 deed, it was acquired by the Counts of Plain about 1187. Hardegg itself is first documented as a town in 1290. Located on the border with the Kingdom of Bohemia, the area was devastated during the Hussite Wars in 1425. In 1483 Hardegg was bequeathed to the Habsburg archdukes of Austria. Emperor Maximilian I granted Hardegg to his ministeriales of the Prueschenk noble family a ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hardegg, Austria

Lockenhaus Castle

Burg Lockenhaus was built in Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles around 1200, and was initially called 'Leuca' or Léka. The castle is in the Güns Valley, set amidst a hilly terrain in eastern Austria, near the Hungarian border towards Kőszeg. Settlements in the area of Burg Lockenhaus date to the Stone Age. The castle was built around 1200, although it first appears in written records dated ...
Founded: 1200 | Location: Lockenhaus, 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

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

Seebenstein Castle

Seebenstein Castle, just south of Vienna, was built between 1180 and 1230. At one time, it was owned by the Princes of Lichtenstein; today it is privately owned and lived in by a family that opens it to the public on weekends. Filled with antique furnishings, the stone castle has some beautiful stained glass windows as well as a collection of children’s armor.
Founded: 1180-1230 | Location: Seebenstein, Austria

Herberstein Castle

Herberstein castle sits on a rock in the Feistritz ravine and thus is not accessible from 3 sides. At the same time, the castle is not visible from out of the ravine and was thus naturally protected from attackers. The oldest parts of the castle situated near the zoo stems from the 12th century. The first small castle called Herwigstein stood under the fiefdom of the Stubenberg Clan. Otto von Hartenberg could free the ca ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hartberg-Fürstenfeld, 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

Mittersill Castle

The area surrounding the Mittersill Castle have been settled since at least the last 4000 years, but the significance of the castle in trans-alpine traffic became especially important between the 10th to 14th centuries. The first records known of the castle date to the 12th century while Pinzgau was under the control of the Duchy of Bavaria, when the Counts of Lechsgemünd decided to establish their family seat there. ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Mittersill, Austria

Hollenburg Castle

Schloss Hollenburg is a medieval castle near Köttmannsdorf. It is on a rock of the northern slope of the Drava valley. One Swiker, Lord of Hollenburg in the Duchy of Carinthia was first documented as a witness in the 1142 deed of the foundation of Viktring Abbey. He may have been a liensman of the ducal House of Sponheim; his son Reginher is mentioned as Lord of Steuerberg, he accompanied King Conrad III of Germany o ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Köttmannsdorf, 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

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

Ennsegg Castle

Ennsegg castle was built originally around the year 900. In the end of the 15th century it was so dilapidated that the Emperor Frederick III decided to build a new one. This imperial residence stood only for 100 years. Already in 1565 it was rebuilt again. The next expansion was made in the mid-1600s. Todau Ennsegg castle has two courtyards separated by a longitudinal wing. In the arcades are Roman finds from Lauriacum ( ...
Founded: 900/1565 | Location: Enns, 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

Schlaining Castle

Schlaining Castle is one of Austria’s best-preserved medieval castle complexes. The original Gothic structure was expanded over time by additions in the Renaissance and Baroque styles. The castle was first mentioned in 1271. It has been owned by counts of Güssing, Emperor Friedrich III and Batthyány family. The castle’s inner courtyard contains a mighty keep with walls up to eight metres thick. On ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Stadtschlaining, Austria

Petersberg Castle

Around 1076 Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg, a follower of Pope Gregory VII in the Investiture Controversy, had the Petersberg fortress erected above the town in order to prevent Emperor Henry IV from crossing the Alps. The archbishop also had fierce enemies in the Carinthian ducal House of Sponheim, who after his deposition made several attempts to take possession of Friesach. Constant attacks by Duke Engelbert were final ...
Founded: c. 1076 | Location: Friesach, Austria

Wiesberg Castle

Wiesberg Castle stands above the Trisanna River, where the Paznaun Valley leads into the Stanzer Valley. The castle was probably built in the 13th century. From the end of the 14th century until 1411, the castle was owned by the Rottenberger family. From 1770 until 1840, the castle was owned by the Dukes of Wolkenstein. Near the castle in 1809 several hundred local militia defended the area against Bavarian and French tro ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Tobadill, Austria

Bruck Castle

Burg Bruck is a medieval castle in Lienz in Tyrol. It was completed in 1278 as the residence of the Meinhardiner Counts of Görz. In 1490. the chapel was decorated with frescoes by Simon von Taisten. In 1500 the last count Leonhard of Görz bequeathed the castle to the Habsburg archduke Maximilian I of Austria, who incorporated it into his Tyrolean possessions. During the Campaigns of 1796 in the French Revolutionary Wars ...
Founded: 1278 | Location: Lienz, Austria

Seggau Castle

Schloss Seggau is located on a wooded hill overlooking the town of Leibnitz. The area around Schloss Seggau has been settled since at least the Roman era, as demonstrated by the impressive lapidarium which has survived from that period. The upper castle was built by the Archbishopric of Salzburg in the twelfth century as a base for missions and supervision and this original structure was expanded in 1218 by the bishops of ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Leibnitz, Austria

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of Our Lady before Týn

The Church of Our Lady before Týn is a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires.

In the 11th century, this area was occupied by a Romanesque church, which was built there for foreign merchants coming to the nearby Týn Courtyard. Later it was replaced by an early Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn in 1256. Construction of the present church began in the 14th century in the late Gothic style under the influence of Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler. By the beginning of the 15th century, construction was almost complete; only the towers, the gable and roof were missing. The church was controlled by Hussites for two centuries, including John of Rokycan, future archbishop of Prague, who became the church's vicar in 1427. The roof was completed in the 1450s, while the gable and northern tower were completed shortly thereafter during the reign of George of Poděbrady (1453–1471). His sculpture was placed on the gable, below a huge golden chalice, the symbol of the Hussites. The southern tower was not completed until 1511, under architect Matěj Rejsek.

After the lost Battle of White Mountain (1620) began the era of harsh recatholicisation (part of the Counter-Reformation). Consequently, the sculptures of 'heretic king' George of Poděbrady and the chalice were removed in 1626 and replaced by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, with a giant halo made from by melting down the chalice. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.

Renovation works carried out in 1876–1895 were later reversed during extensive exterior renovation works in the years 1973–1995. Interior renovation is still in progress.

The northern portal is a wonderful example of Gothic sculpture from the Parler workshop, with a relief depicting the Crucifixion. The main entrance is located on the church's western face, through a narrow passage between the houses in front of the church.

The early baroque altarpiece has paintings by Karel Škréta from around 1649. The oldest pipe organ in Prague stands inside this church. The organ was built in 1673 by Heinrich Mundt and is one of the most representative 17th-century organs in Europe.