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

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens

Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).

It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.

After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.

UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.

Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.