Burgruine Aggstein is the remnant of a castle on the right bank of the Danube, north of Melk. According to archaeological excavations of the foundations of the castle it has been inferred that the castle was built in the early part of the 12th century. The castle was built by Manegold III Aggsbach Getbeen of the Kuenringer family descent and his son Aggstein Manegold IV inherited it as a fiefdom of Bavaria. They started living in the castle from 1180 onwards. Its notoriety was due to the 'robber barons' of Schloss Schonbuhel and Burg Agstein' who imprisoned their rivals for ransom and tied them to a rock ledge all the time threatening to kill them by throwing them into the gorge. In 1181, it came into the possession of the Kuenringer Aggsbach-Gansbach. The castle was besieged during the revolt of the Austrian nobility against Duke Albrecht I in 1295/96. Kuenringer Leutold occupied the castle from 1348 to 1355 and then it fell into disrepair.

In 1429, Duke Albrecht V pledged to rebuild the ruined castle because of its strategical point on the Danube. The purpose was to collect taxes from passing boats. In 1438, he built a riverbank toll house to regulate shipping on the Danube and used it as a front to accumulate wealth by robbery from ships. Later, another dishonest baron, Georg von Stain, occupied the castle but in 1476 he was caught and expelled and was forced to surrender the castle. Duke Leopold III took over the castle in 1477. It was occupied with tenants and carers in order to stop the looting which had taken place on the river in previous decades.

In 1529, the castle was burned down by a group of Turks during the first Turkish siege of Vienna. It was rebuilt and provided with loopholes for defence with the help of artillery. In 1606, Anna Baroness acquired the castle, but after her death, the castle was neglected. In 1685, the castle became the property of Count Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg. Then in 1819, one of his descendants, Ludwig Josef Gregor von Starhemberg, sold the castle to Count Franz von Beroldingen who renovated the castle in the 19th century. The Beroldingen family owned the castle until 1930 when the estate and the ruins of Schönbühel Aggstein were sold to Count Oswald von Seilern Aspang.

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Founded: 1180
Category: Castles and fortifications in Austria

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User Reviews

Stanislav Kyselov (6 months ago)
most beautiful medieval castle in Austria!
Anthea Hankey (6 months ago)
I enjoyed the hike up to the ruins, though it is very steep. There is a bus to take you up if you prefer. The ruins themself are very impressive, and the view of the Danube is awesome. For 2 weekends they have a Christmas Market in the ruins. It is a very different and awesome experience.
Thomas Gardiner (9 months ago)
Cycled up here, if you don't like hills or don't have a decent bike, leave the bike at the bottom and hike up, the hill is quite steep. Castle itself is amazing and very unique!
Pavel Kogan (9 months ago)
Beautiful medieval fortress with an easy access by car and stunning views of Danube. The tavern is decent both in terms of food and prices. Great attraction to spend 1-2 hours.
Jolanta Bartosik (9 months ago)
Rather small but beautiful castle, gets your imagination working! Great panoramic view on Danube River.
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