Ulstrup Castle traces its history back to the end of the 14th century when it was owned by Jens Brandsen. Later owners include Queen Margaret I but the original house later disappeared and Ulstrup continued to exist as a village. It was acquired by privy councilor Christen Skeel in 1579 and dissolved to make way for his new manor house which was built in 1591. The building was expanded between 1615 and 1617 by his son, Jørgen Skeel, and an agricultural building (avlsgården) was built in 1668.
The estate remained in the possession of the Skeel/Scheel family until 1809. Later in the century, Ulstrup reappeared as a railway town located on the Langå-Viborg railway line which opened in 1863. In the 1920s, Ulstrup was dissolved and most of the land sold in parcels. From 1951 the remaining grounds housed an amusement park and zoo.
The north wing of the complex incorporates Christen Skeel's original house from 1591. His son's expansion added a south and a west wing. The complex was later closed with the construction of a lower gate wing to the east. The gate wing is flanked by two octagonal corner pavilions and its central section, above the gate, is topped by a small tower with a lantern. The west wing was demolished in 1755.
Since 1980, Ulstrup Castle has been re-established as a manor house after much of the land was reacquired and the buildings thoroughly restored.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.