UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Austria

Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial summer residence located in Vienna. The 1,441-room Baroque palace is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in the country. The history of the palace and its vast gardens spans over 300 years, reflecting the changing tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs. The site of the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn is o ...
Founded: 1740 | Location: Vienna, Austria

Historic Centre of Salzburg

Salzburg"s Old Town (Altstadt) is internationally renowned for its baroque architecture and is one of the best-preserved city centers north of the Alps. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Salzburg is an outstanding example of an ecclesiastical city-state, peculiar to the Holy Roman Empire, from Prussia to Italy. Most disappeared as political and administrative units in the early 19th century and ...
Founded: | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg"s Cathedral is probably the city"s most significant piece of church architecture and its ecclesiastical center. With its magnificent façade and mighty dome it represents the most impressive early Baroque edifice north of the Alps. The cathedral origin is closely connected to the ecclesiastical principality"s demeanour and growth. Destroyed by fire and rebuilt, enlarged and expanded, it bear ...
Founded: 774 AD | Location: Salzburg, Austria

St Peter's Abbey

St Peter's Abbey is a Benedictine monastery and former cathedral in Salzburg. It is considered one of the oldest monasteries in the German-speaking area, and in fact the oldest with a continuous history. St Peter's Abbey was founded in 696 by Saint Rupert at the site of a Late Antique church stemming from the first Christianization in the area. Likewise the establishment of the monastery was meant to forward the missionar ...
Founded: 696 AD | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Hohensalzburg Castle

Hohensalzburg Castle is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Construction of the fortress began in 1077 under Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein. In the Holy Roman Empire, the archbishops of Salzburg were already powerful political figures and they expanded the castle to protect their interests. Gebhard"s conflict with Emperor Henry IV during the Investiture Controversy influenced the expansion of the castl ...
Founded: 1077 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Historic Centre of Graz

Graz old town is one of the best-preserved city centres in Central Europe. The oldest settlement on the ground of the modern city of Graz dates back to the Chalcolithic Age. However, no historical continuity exists of a settlement before the Middle Ages. During the 12th century, dukes under Babenberg rule made the town into an important commercial center. Later, Graz came under the rule of the Habsburgs, and in 1281, gain ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Graz, Austria

Hallstatt

Hallstatt is a village in the Salzkammergut area. It is known for its production of salt, dating back to prehistoric times, and gave its name to the Hallstatt culture, a culture often linked to Celtic, Proto-Celtic, and pre-Illyrian peoples in Early Iron Age Europe, c.800–450 BC. Some of the earliest archaeological evidence for the Celts was found in Hallstatt. The village also gave its name to the early Iron Age C ...
Founded: | Location: Hallstatt, Austria

Salzburg Residenz

For centuries the Archbishops of Salzburg resided at the Salzburg Residenz and used the palace to present and represent their political status. Today the Salzburg Residenz palace is a museum and one of the most impressive attractions in the city. The earliest recorded reference to the bishop"s palace was in a document dated 1232. Construction began under Archbishop Konrad I. In the 16th century, several changes and ...
Founded: 1596 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Mirabell Palace

Mirabell Palace with its gardens is part of the Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace was built about 1606 on the shore of the Salzach river north of the medieval city walls, at the behest of Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau. The Archbishop suffered from gout and had a stroke the year before; to evade the narrow streets of the city, he decided to erect a pleasure palace for ...
Founded: 1606 | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Eggenberg Palace

Eggenberg Palace in Graz is the most significant Baroque palace complex in Styria. With its preserved accouterments, the extensive scenic gardens as well as some additional collections from the Universalmuseum Joanneum housed in the palace and park, Schloss Eggenberg counts among the most valuable cultural assets of Austria. With its construction and accouterment history, it exhibits the vicissitude and patronage of the o ...
Founded: 1625-1636 | Location: Graz, Austria

Nonnberg Abbey

Nonnberg Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in Salzburg founded ca. 714 by Saint Rupert of Salzburg. It is the oldest women's religious house in the German-speaking world. Its first abbess was Saint Erentrudis of Salzburg, who was either a niece or a sister of Saint Rupert. The abbey was independent of the founding house from 987 and was re-built in about 1000. This building was largely destroyed in a fire of 1423. Reconst ...
Founded: ca. 714 AD | Location: Salzburg, Austria

Semmering Railway

The Semmering railway, which starts at Gloggnitz and leads over the Semmering to Mürzzuschlag was the first mountain railway in Europe built with a standard gauge track. It is commonly referred to as the world"s first true mountain railway, given the very difficult terrain and the considerable altitude difference that was mastered during its construction. It is still fully functional as a part of the Southern Ra ...
Founded: 1848-1854 | Location: Semmering-Kurort, Austria

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Castle Rushen

Castle Rushen is located in the Isle of Man"s historic capital, Castletown. The castle is amongst the best examples of medieval castles in the British Isles, and is still in use as a court house, museum and educational centre.

The exact date of castle is unknown, although construction is thought to have taken place during the reigns of the late 12th century and early 13th century rulers of the Isle of Man – the Kings of Mann and the Isles. The original Castle Rushen consisted of a central square stone tower, or keep. The site was also fortified to guard the entrance to the Silver Burn. From its early beginnings, the castle was continually developed by successive rulers of Mann between the 13th and 16th century. The limestone walls dominated much of the surrounding landscape, serving as a point of dominance for the various rulers of the Isle of Man. By 1313, the original keep had been reinforced with towers to the west and south. In the 14th century, an east tower, gatehouses, and curtain wall were added.

After several more changes of hands the English and their supporters eventually prevailed. The English king Edward I Longshanks claimed that the island had belonged to the Kings of England for generations and he was merely reasserting their rightful claim to the Isle of Man.

The 18th century saw the castle in steady decay. By the end of the century it was converted into a prison. Even though the castle was in continuous use as a prison, the decline continued until the turn of the 20th century, when it was restored under the oversight of the Lieutenant Governor, George Somerset, 3rd Baron Raglan. Following the restoration work, and the completion of the purpose-built Victoria Road Prison in 1891, the castle was transferred from the British Crown to the Isle of Man Government in 1929.

Today it is run as a museum by Manx National Heritage, depicting the history of the Kings and Lords of Mann. Most rooms are open to the public during the opening season (March to October), and all open rooms have signs telling their stories. The exhibitions include a working medieval kitchen where authentic period food is prepared on special occasions and re-enactments of various aspects of medieval life are held on a regular basis, with particular emphasis on educating the local children about their history. Archaeological finds made during excavations in the 1980s are displayed and used as learning tools for visitors.