Medieval castles in Austria

Gallenstein Castle

Founded in 1278, Gallenstein Castle was never conquered. In 1950 a reconstruction was started to restore this Styrian fortress to its former glory. The ruined Gallenstein Castle hosts many concerts and exhibitions as well as the annual Festival St. Gallen.
Founded: 1278 | Location: Sankt Gallen, 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

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

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

Rabenstein Castle Ruins

Rabenstein Castle was built around 1100 to protect nearby Sankt Paul im Lavanttal. It began as a mere watchtower built on a tall hill. Rabenstein became a castle when Engelbert I Sponheim, Margrave of Istria founded St. Paul"s Abbey in 1091 in order to protect the abbey and town around it. The castle was occupied by the Rabensteins (whose name henceforth stuck to the structure) until 1200, the Archbishop of Salzburg ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Sankt Paul im Lavanttal, 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

Wasserburg Castle

The oldest historical documents of Wasserburg castle dates back to 1185. The aristocrat Dietmar von Wasserburg was the first noted owner of the estate. Until the 13th century wasserburg remained in the possession of the von Wasserburg line the most notable member being Heinrich von Wasserburg who was the brother in law of the famouse minnesinger Ulirch von Lichtenstein. Legend says that von Lichtenstein took a leading rol ...
Founded: c. 1185 | Location: Sankt Pölten, Austria

Neuberg Castle

Neuberg Castle in Hartberg is one of the most important preserved castle of Styria. The medieval hilltop castle was built in the 12th century by Gottschalk Schirling as a border castle against the Hungarian armies. It belonged to the Herberstein family until the late 1900s. The square tower is the oldest part of the castle, dating from c. 1160. The finely decorated Renaissance ballroom dates from the 16th century. The ch ...
Founded: c. 1160 | Location: Hartberg, Austria

Lichtenwerth Castle

Lichtenwerth castle was probably once on an island, today on lowland. It was probably built in the 12th century. The first documentary mention was made in 1212. The keep and three-storey main building were renewed in the 18th century. The vaulted kitchen is original and well preserved. The Baroque castle theater dates from 1765 and castle chapel from 1766. Today Lichtenwerth is privately owned and not open to the public.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Münster, Austria

Neuhaus Castle

Neuhaus castle dates probably back to the 13th century. It may have been built on the site of earlier 12th century fortified house. The pentagonal tower was added in the 14th century and the castle was rebuilt during the 16th century. The traffic on the Danube has been able to deny with chain from the chain tower, located below the castle. Neuhaus was besieged at least in 1381, 1386 and 1389.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Neuhaus an der Donau, Austria

Vichtenstein Castle

The Vichtenstein castle sits above the Danube valley opposite to the market municipality of Upper Cell (Lower Bavaria). The castle is in the centre of the municipality Vichtenstein. There is no documentary for the construction of the castle but it is believed to have been started around the year 1100. The castle was an administrative centre of the Bishopric of Passau and in the 14th century it was mortgaged several times ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Vichtenstein, 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.