Falkenburg Castle is a castle ruin overlooking the village of Wilgartswiesen. It was probably built in the 11th century as a successor to the nearby Wilgartaburg and to protect the adjacent villages. In the documents of Archbishop Erkinbald of Mainz, letters dating to 1019 describe a rock outcrop called the Falkenstein considered as the most northerly border belonging to the principality of Kaiserslautern. Werner I of Bolanden is thought to have begun construction of the castle on this rock in 1125; he was a vassal of Duke Frederick II of Swabia. At the Bolanden family monastery in Hane were records of Sigbold of Falkenstein in 1135; he was one of the first to take the name of the castle for himself. Then in 1233 the imperial ministerialis, Phillip IV of Bolanden, was the first to clearly say that he was from Falkenstein in a legal document.
A Werner of Falkenburg is mentioned among legal documents dating from 1290. From 1300 to 1313 the castle was enfeoffed to Frederick IV of Leiningen. Then in 1317 it was given in fee to Counts Palatine Rudolph II and Rupert I by Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor. In 1375, Emich V of Leiningen became the owner of the castle and in 1398 the fiefdom of Falkenstein became its own county.
From 1420, the Bolanded/Falkenstein lineage died out and the counts of Virneburg took over the castle until 1456 when it went into the possession of the counts of Dhaun-Oberstein. In 1458, the Duke of Lorraine took over and became the high feudal lord. The Falkenburg survived the German Peasants' War of 1524–1525. In 1545, with the fall of the empire the House of Austria took over under the charge of the Austrian government in Freiburg.
During the 30 Years' War the castle was captured, first by Spanish troops in 1631, and then again by Swedish troops in 1632, before being finally retaken by troops from Lorraine. The castle was demolished by the French Marshal Schönbeck in 1638. The entire region of Frankenweide was administered from Falkenburg until the castle was destroyed, when it was then moved to Wilgartswiesen. Restoration work on the castle was carried out in the 1930s and 1970.
The bergfried occupied an area of 6.8 by 7.2 metres. Its walls were 1.8 metres thick and its remains 2.5 metres high. The ruins include a cistern, a gatehouse, a rock chamber, living quarters (a palas) and further wall remnants on the castle rock.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.