First mentioned as a fortified complex in 1125 and used as a chapel, Bürgeln was built by local land-owner Lord Werner von Kaltenbach, who subsequently donated all his possessions to the St. Blasien Benedictine monastery. Under monastic control, Bürgeln became the seat of the St. Blasien Provost, the religious representative and church tax collector for the local area, including the convent at Sitzenkirch and the nearby communities of Obereggenen and Marzell. During the peasant's revolt of 1525 the castle was looted. Then in 1556 Charles II Margrave of Baden-Durlach, in whose territory Bürgeln sat, introduced the Reformation, releasing the local communities from the control of the Catholic monastery and its Bürgeln Provost.
In 1689, during the War of the Spanish Succession, the property was severely damaged, and between 1692 and 1698 was left uninhabited. There were several attempts to restore it, but in 1762 the former structures were demolished down to the foundations, and over the next two years Bürgeln was rebuilt as a 'Schloss' - equivalent to an English stately home - designed to represent Catholic power in the midst of a Protestant stronghold.
At the beginning of the 19th century, with revolutionary France ascendant and the Austrian rulers of the Catholic Holy Roman Empire defeated, imperial possessions were secularised. Initial attempts in 1803 to transfer St. Blasien to the Catholic Order of Malta based in Heitersheim were resisted, but following further Austrian defeats at Ulm and Austerlitz in 1805, large swathes of Austrian Breisgau were transferred over to the Electorate of Baden.
In 1809 Bürgeln was sold into private ownership. By 1926 Bürgeln had come into the possession of Richard Sichler who renovated the property, adding the terrace on the west side. After his death in 1952, his widow stayed on at the house until 1957, when it was sold to the current owners, the Schloss Bürgeln Association, though the sale did not include the contents, which were sold off separately.
Today the house, authentically refurnished, with a restaurant on site and set in small but beautifully laid out gardens.References:
The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.
At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.
During the revolt of the Czech nobility he stood on the side of the Habsburgs, and took part in the Battle of White Mountain. After the uprising was defeated in 1620 he systematically acquired property confiscated from some of the rebels, and the Liechtensteins became the wealthiest family in Moravia, rising in status above the Žerotíns. Their enormous land holdings brought them great profits, and eventually allowed them to carry out their grandious building projects here in Lednice.
In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.
In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.
The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.