Audunborg or Hegrenes-borga castle was built in stone from 1276 to 1286 probably by English craftsmen from Bergen. The rectangular building was 22 by 13 metres and had three stories. There was a store room in the ground floor, living quarters on the next floor, and a feast hall in the top floor. It had large windows and arches. The building itself had water on three sides and was thus easy to defend. It is also thought that a moat or castle wall was part of the fortifications. Recent research claims that Audun himself spent little time in his castle as his activities kept him either in Bergen, in the east of the country or abroad. As a baron, Audun Hugleiksson was allowed to keep a hird (armed retinue) a right otherwise reserved for the king. This hird would defend him on his travels and when he was at home in Audunborg.
In Norway, only the King and the Church had the funds to build in stone and Audunborg along with Isegran by Glomma, built by Alv Erlingsson, are the only two known examples of private stone castles in Norway. Stories about Audun remain in local folklore and one story includes him burying all his money and sinking a silver table into the lake Jølstravatn before departing for his last trip to Bergen.
Today, only the ruins remain of the castle that stood at the tip of Hegreneset by Jølstravatn in Sunnfjord. It was first excavated in 1934 and is probably modeled after Håkonshallen in Bergen which was twice as long and twice as wide. A memorial to Audun, carved by Jørgen P. Solheimsnes from Jølster was erected on the site of the castle in 1960. Its motive is the baron's seal.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.