Medieval castles in Austria

Neu-Montfort Castle Ruins

Neu-Montfort was a medieval hilltop castle in Götzis built between 1311-1319 by the Count of Montfort. 50 years later they sold their rule to the Habsburgs, who were able to acquire in 1363 the first piece of Vorarlberg. Neu-Montfort is one of the few castles that were not destroyed by the Appenzell Wars (1405-1408). The decline began in 1693 when the last resident Ulrich Koch died.
Founded: 1311-1319 | Location: Götzis, 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 nep ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ehrenhausen, Austria

Kaja Castle Ruins

Kaja Castle was first mentioned in 1196. In the late 14th century it was conquered by robber barons Johann and Heinrich Leipa who spread the terror in the surrounding villages. The castle was again conquered by Hussites in 1425-1427. Later Kaja castle fell on decay, today it stands partly restored.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hardegg, Austria

Pürnstein Castle

Pürnstein castle, towering high above the valley, was built in the late 10th century. It was first time documented in 1170. In the 13th century, the castle became into the possession of the Prince-Bishopric of Passau. The current appearance dates mainly from the mid-15h century. The castle chapel was consecrated in 1449. Part of the ruins of the original fortifications are also preserved to this day. A fire on Septe ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Pürnstein, Austria

Landeck Castle

Landeck castle has been built in 1290 by the Counts of Tyrol as site of the court and administration. From the 14th century onward the name was also used for the castle and the entire region from the Stanzertal valley to Fliess and Zams. After 1797 is was used as a hospital, casern and accomodation for workers. However, nowadays in Landeck Castle there is the Regional Museum Landeck featuring a permanent exhibition, illu ...
Founded: 1290 | Location: Landeck, Austria

Groppenstein Castle

First mentioned in historic documents in 1254, Burg Groppenstein was built in a particularly beautiful place, where the River Mallnitz flows into the River Möll. In the 15th century it was turned into a defence in the style of the late Middle Ages. In 1872 the castle was renovated by the Viennese architect Adolf Stipperger, and its exterior design has since been unchanged. The Romanesque wing was replaced by Gothic ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Semslach, Austria

Starhemberg Castle

The first small Starhemberg castle was built by Ottokar III, Margrave of Styria between 1140 and 1145. At the time, the Piesting river was the border between Styria and the March of Austria. In 1192, Styria—and, thus, the castle—was acquired by the Babenbergs. The last Babenberger duke of Austria, Frederick II the Warlike, expanded and fortified the castle, leaving Starhemberg as one of the most important cast ...
Founded: 1140 | Location: Dreistetten, 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

Plainburg Castle Ruins

Plainburg Castle - the family seat of the Counts of Plain and a symbol of Großgmain - is one of Austria's oldest castle ruins and offers a magnificent view over Großgmain and the surrounding mountains. All that remains of the original structure are the outside walls, with a thickness of 1.4m and standing to a height of over 5m. A short climb rewards the visitor with the opportunity to stop and rest awhile at the viewing ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Großgmain, 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

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

Moosham Castle

Possibly built on the foundations of a Roman castrum fortress, the Moosham castle was first documented in a 1191 deed. It was seized by the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg about 1285 and from the 14th century onwards served as the residence of an episcopal burgrave. Under the rule of Prince-Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach from 1495, the castle was rebuilt and extended. In 1520 it became an administrative seat of the Lun ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Unternberg, Austria

Bernstein Castle

Bernstein Castle was first mentioned in the 13th century. In 860 the whole region was part of the archbishopric of Salzburg. The village name Rettenbach was not mentioned yet, but the old Slavic name of the nearby hamlet Grodnau is a sign of the existence of a nearby castle, identifiable with castle Bernstein. Since 1199 the castle was part of Hungary. It is not exactly known when the castle was handed over to Frederick ...
Founded: 9th century | Location: Bernstein, Austria

Finstergrün Castle

Burg Finstergrün consists of two castles. The old castle, today in ruins, dates probably from the 12th century. The new castle, built around the old castle was completed in 1908. However, it looks very similar to a historical castle because it was built in the style of the 13th century. Today Finstergrün is a youth hostel.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ramingstein, Austria

Dürnstein Castle

Dürnstein castle was documented first time in 1144. It belonged to the Dürnsteiner family until 1192. The castle fell in to disrepair in the 16th century and was abandoned in 1610.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Neumarkt in der Steiermark, Austria

Altpernstein Castle

Altpernstein castle is situated on a steep dominating promontory. The castle was built between 1007 and 1055 and enlarged in the 12th century by the lord Pilling von Pernstein.
Founded: 1007-1055 | Location: Altpernstein, Austria

Niederfalkenstein Castle

Niederfalkenstein Castle is part of the larger Falkenstein fortification complex; while the main fortress of Oberfalkenstein today is a ruin, the lower barbican of Niederfalkenstein is largely preserved. The fortification was erected on a rocky promontory on the southwestern slopes of the Reisseck Group in the Hohe Tauern mountain range. The ruins of Oberfalkenstein comprise a Bergfried keep with surrounding moats and th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pfaffenberg, Austria

Freundsberg Castle

Freundsberg castle in Tyrol was constructed in 1150 by the lords of Freundsberg. Originally the castle consisted out of a single keep, which is still intact up to this date. The chapel next to it was built afterwards in the year 1117. In 1467 the castle was sold to Archduke Sigismund of Austria, who rebuilt the castle and called it Sigismundruh for the duration of his reign. From 1634–37 on, the castle was remodifi ...
Founded: 1150 | Location: Schwaz, Austria

Krems Castle

Krems castle history dates back to the 11th or 12th century. It was built by the Archbishop of Salzburg and mentioned first time in 1248. In the 16th century it was expanded and remodelled in Renaissance style. After 1730 the castle lost its position as administration residence and was left to decay. Today Krems ruins are well preserved. A small museum room opened in May 2015 exhibiting the history of castle.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Voitsberg, Austria

Senftenberg Castle

Senftenberg Castle was mentioned first time in 1197. In the 13th century it belonged to the Zebringer family and between the 14th and 15th centuries to the Wallseern family. The castle was destroyed during the rebellion in 1407-1409 and rebuilt later. It was a refuge place during the Siege of Vienna in the Ottoman Wars. The castle was finally destroyed by the Swedish troops in the Thirty Years' War in 1645. Today still im ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Senftenberg, Austria

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Seville Cathedral

Seville's cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage. After its completion in the early 16th century, Seville Cathedral supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, a title the Byzantine church had held for nearly a thousand years.

History

The basilica occupies the site of the great Aljama mosque, built in the late 12th century by the Almohads, the ruling Moorish dynasty, of which the only remaining parts are the Patio de Naranjas, the Puerta del Perdon (on Calle Alemanes, on the north side), and the Giralda (formerly the minaret, now the belltower).

Shortly after Seville's conquest by Ferdinand III, the mosque was converted into the city's cathedral. Its orientation was changed and its spaces partitioned and adorned to suit Christian worship practices. The internal space was gradually divided into chapels by constructing walls in the bays along the northern and southern walls. Almost the entire eastern half of the cathedral was occupied by the royal chapel that would hold the bodies of Ferdinand, his wife and Alfonso the Wise.

In 1401, city leaders decided to build a new cathedral to replace the grand mosque that served as the cathedral until then. Construction continued until 1506. The clergy of the parish offered half their stipends to pay for architects, artists, stained glass artisans, masons, carvers, craftsman and labourers and other expenses. Five years after construction ended, in 1511, the crossing lantern, or cimborrio, collapsed and work on the cathedral recommenced. The crossing again collapsed in 1888 due an earthquake, and work on the dome continued until at least 1903.

Architecture

The interior has the longest nave of any cathedral in Spain. The central nave rises to a height of 42 metres. In the main body of the cathedral, the most noticeable features are the great boxlike choir loft, which fills the central portion of the nave, and the vast Gothic retablo of carved scenes from the life of Christ. This altarpiece was the lifetime work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart.

The Capilla Mayor (Great Chapel), dominated by a vast Gothic retablo (altarpiece) comprised of 45 carved scenes from the life of Christ, as well as Santa Maria de la Sede, the cathedral's patron saint. The lifetime's work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart, this is the ultimate masterpiece of the cathedral - the largest and richest altarpiece in the world and one of the finest examples of Gothic woodcarving anywhere.

The Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville. Its height is 105 m. The Giralda is the former minaret of the mosque that stood on the site under Muslim rule, and was built to resemble the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. It was converted into a bell tower for the cathedral after the Reconquista, although the topmost section dates from the Renaissance.

The tomb of Christopher Columbus is one of the main attractions of the cathedral for visitors, housing the remains of the great explorer who died in poverty in Valladolid. The tomb itself is more recent, from the 1892, with four bearers presenting the kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarra.