Medieval castles in Austria

Taggenbrunn Castle Ruins

Taggenbrunn Castle site was already used as a Celtic-Roman hillfort settlement in the 6th century BC. The first mention of current castle dates from 1142. The castle was destroyed in 1258 in a rebellion agains Duke Albrecht I and rebuilt ten years later. Later the castle was owned by the Holy Roman Empire and archbishopric of Salzburg. The castle was expanded in 1497-1503. In the 17th and 18th centuries Taggenbrunn was le ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Taggenbrunn, Austria

Rothenthurn Castle

Rothenthurn ('red tower') castle may have existed since the 11th century. It was an estate of the Counts of Ortenburg and their successors, the Counts of Celje. A castle is documented in 1478, when the area was held by the Meinhardiner House of Gorizia. The present-day Renaissance building with its chapel was erected from the early 16th onwards, it was acquired by Christoph Khevenhüller about 1525 and after ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Spittal an der Drau, Austria

Aggstein Castle

Burgruine Aggstein is the remnant of a castle on the right bank of the Danube, north of Melk. According to archaeological excavations of the foundations of the castle it has been inferred that the castle was built in the early part of the 12th century. The castle was built by Manegold III Aggsbach Getbeen of the Kuenringer family descent and his son Aggstein Manegold IV inherited it as a fiefdom of Bavaria. They started l ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Schönbühel-Aggsbach, 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

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

Mannsberg Castle

Mannsberg castle was first mentioned in 1065-1075. It has been owned by several families and is still privately owned. Despite the frequent change of ownership, the castle has not significantly changed since the 15th century. The castle chapel with stucco decorations dates from the year 1711.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Kappel am Krappfeld, 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

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

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

Saalhof Castle

Saalhof is one of the oldest castles in the Pinzgau region. It dates back to the 11th century, when it apparently was the home of the Counts of the region. During the renovation of the facade in 2010, the oldest parts of the castle on the north-east side were revealed. In 1600, Christoff Amann from Judendorf and Saal rebuilt the castle. The marble relief and emblem above the main entrance, laid in 1606, as well as a large ...
Founded: 11th century/1600 | Location: Atzing, 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

Ortenburg Castle Ruins

Ortenburg castle was erected in the late 11th century by ministeriales of the Bavarian Prince-Bishops of Freising, who then held large possessions in the Duchy of Carinthia. Their descendants began to call themselves Counts of Ortenburg. The castle is located on the northern slope of the Gailtal Alps overlooking the Drava valley. Damaged by the 1348 Friuli earthquake, the significance of the castle diminuished after the ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Baldramsdorf, 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

Gutenberg Castle

Schloss Gutenberg stands on a prominent rock. IT was founded by Luitold III of Waldstein, who moved into the castle in 1185. The castle has belonged to the Stubenberg family since 1288. The oldest section from the 12th century was supplemented by a 2-story bailey that is protected by two moats. The outer moat is bridged today, the inner was filled in. The castle was remodeled and expanded, mixing the medieval style with R ...
Founded: 1185 | Location: Gutenberg-Stenzengreith, 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

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

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

Araburg Castle

Araburg castle was built in the 12th century and continues to expand into the 17th century. During the first Turkish siege of 1529 it was a refuge place for the local population. Araburg also played a role in the religious wars between Catholics and Protestants. In 1683 it was destroyed during the second Turkish siege. Since then Araburg has been ruined.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kaumberg, Austria

Hohenwang Castle

Hohenwang castle dates back to the 12th century and was one of the most important medieval fortifications that time. It is exceptional long structure and one the largest castles in Styria. It consists of the stronghold and two outworks, which are separated by trenches. Their massive decline began in the late 18th century, after it was severely damaged by an earthquake. During World War II more parts of the ruins were dest ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Langenwang, Austria

Glanegg Castle

After Hochosterwitz and Fortress Landskron, Glanegg is the third largest military complex in Carinthia. The history of the castle is first documented in 1121. The first owner was the Duke Henry III of Carinthia. After his death in 1122 it was inherited by his nephew, Count Bernhard von Marburg and later Otakar III. His son, Duke Ottokar IV left the castle after his death in 1192 to Leopold V. From 1473-1478 the castle was ...
Founded: c. 1121 | Location: Mautbrücken, Austria

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Königstein Fortress

Königstein Fortress is located on the left bank of the River Elbe. It is one of the largest hilltop fortifications in Europe. The 9.5 hectare rock plateau rises 240 metres above the Elbe and has over 50 buildings, some over 400 years old, that bear witness to the military and civilian life in the fortress. The rampart run of the fortress is 1,800 metres long with walls up to 42 metres high and steep sandstone faces. In the centre of the site is a 152.5 metre deep well, which is the deepest in Saxony and second deepest well in Europe.

The fortress, which for centuries was used as a state prison, is still intact and is now one of Saxony's foremost tourist attractions, with 700,000 visitors per year.

By far the oldest written record of a castle on the Königstein is found in a deed by King Wenceslas I of Bohemia dating to the year 1233. It is probable that there had been a stone castle on the Königstein as early as the 12th century. The oldest surviving structure today is the castle chapel built at the turn of the 13th century. In the years 1563 to 1569 the 152.5 metre deep well was bored into the rock within the castle - until that point the garrison of the Königstein had to obtain water from cisterns and by collecting rainwater.

Between 1589 and 1591/97 Prince-Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the castle developed into the strongest fortification in Saxony. The hill was now surrounded with high walls. Buildings were erected, including the Gatehouse (Torhaus), the Streichwehr, the Old Barracks (Alte Kaserne), the Christiansburg (Friedrichsburg) and the Old Armoury (Altes Zeughaus). The second construction period followed from 1619 to 1681, during which the John George Bastion was built. The third construction period is seen as the time from 1694 to 1756, which included the expansion of the Old Barracks. From 1722 to 1725, at the behest of August the Strong, coopers under Böttger built the enormous Königstein Wine Barrel, the greatest wine barrel in the world, in the cellar of the Magdalenenburg which had a capacity of 249,838 litres. It cost 8,230 thalers, 18 groschen and 9 pfennigs. The butt, which was once completely filled with country wine from the Meißen vineyards, had to be removed again in 1818 due to its poor condition. Because of Böttger, Königstein Fortress is also the site where European porcelain started.

Even after the expansion during those periods of time there continued to be modifications and additions on the extensive plateau. The Treasury (Schatzhaus) was built from 1854 to 1855. After the fortress had been incorporated in 1871 into the fortification system of the new German Empire, battery ramparts were constructed from 1870 to 1895 with eight firing points, that were to have provided all-round defence for the fortress in case of an attack that, in the event, never came. This was at this time that the last major building work was done on the fortress.

Because Königstein Fortress was regarded as unconquerable, the Saxon monarchs retreated to it from Wittenberg and later Dresden during times of crisis and also deposited the state treasure and many works of art from the famous Zwinger here; it was also used as a country retreat due to its lovely surroundings.

The fortress played an important role in the History of Saxony, albeit less as a result of military action. The Saxon Dukes and Prince-Electors used the fortress primarily as a secure refuge during times of war, as a hunting lodge and maison de plaisance, but also as a dreaded state prison. Its actual military significance was rather marginal.

Since 1955 the fortress has been an open-air, military history museum of high touristic value.