Medieval castles in 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

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

Schachenstein Castle Ruins

Schachenstein Castle was the last hill castle to be built in the Styria. It was built in 1464 by Abbot John II Schachner of Lambrecht as a summer residence and lordly manor. It was extended in 1630 and 1740. From the end of the 18th century the castle lost its significance and fell into ruins. The main purpose of the fortification was as a home and summer residence of the abbots of St. Lambrecht"s Abbey as evinced b ...
Founded: 1464 | Location: Thörl, 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

Prandegg Castle Ruins

Prandegg Castle is an elongated castle on a hilltop adjacent to a collection of rocky cliffs. It lies between two valleys formed by the Waldaist River and the smaller Prandegg stream. The first written mention of the castle occurred in 1287. Prandegg was for centuries intimately connected with Markt Zell (today Bad Zell) and the nearby Zellhof Palace. Since the local boundaries changed in 1784, the castle now belongs to t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Schönau im Mühlkreis, Austria

Reifenstein Castle Ruins

Reifenstein castle was probably built in the 12th century by the Reifenstein family, a branch of Liechtenstein family. In the 13th and 14th century extensions were completed. 1521, the castle was sold to Sebald Pögl from Thörl and rebuilt in the Renaissance style. 1698 the castle came into the possession of the family Schwarzenberg who still owns Reifenstein lands. The castle was inhabited until 1809. It was dam ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pöls-Oberkurzheim, Austria

Bidenegg Castle

Bidenegg castle in Fliess was mentioned for the first time in 1339 AD. It was acquired in 1546 by Hans Trautson. The complex was rebuilt in the 16th century, and still retains its appearance. Bidenegg is not open to the public.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Flies, Austria

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Ananuri Castle

Ananuri was a castle and seat of the eristavis (Dukes) of Aragvi, a feudal dynasty which ruled the area from the 13th century. The castle was the scene of numerous battles. The current ensemble dates from the 16th and 17th centuries.

In 1739, Ananuri was attacked by forces from a rival duchy, commanded by Shanshe of Ksani and was set on fire. The Aragvi clan was massacred. However, four years later, the local peasants revolted against rule by the Shamshe, killing the usurpers and inviting King Teimuraz II to rule directly over them. However, in 1746, King Teimuraz was forced to suppress another peasant uprising, with the help of King Erekle II of Kakheti. The fortress remained in use until the beginning of the 19th century. In 2007, the complex has been on the tentative list for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage Site program.

Architecture

The fortifications consist of two castles joined by a crenellated curtain wall. The upper fortification with a large square tower, known as Sheupovari, is well preserved and is the location of the last defense of the Aragvi against the Shamshe. The lower fortification, with a round tower, is mostly in ruins.

Within the complex, amongst other buildings, are two churches. The older Church of the Virgin, which abuts a tall square tower, has the graves of some of the Dukes of Aragvi. It dates from the first half of the 17th century, and was built of brick. The interior is no longer decorated, but of interest is a stone baldaquin erected by the widow of the Duke Edishera, who died in 1674.

The larger Church of the Mother of God (Ghvtismshobeli), built in 1689 for the son of Duke Bardzem. It is a central dome style structure with richly decorated façades, including a carved north entrance and a carved grapevine crosson the south façade. It also contains the remains of a number of frescoes, most of which were destroyed by the fire in the 18th century.