Burg Mauterndorf is probably built on the site of an old Roman fort that dates to 326 AD or earlier. It protected the Roman mountain road from Teurnia via Radstädter Tauern Pass to Iuvavum (present-day Salzburg) and served as a residence for the Roman administrator in the Noricum province. The original fort was destroyed during the Migration Period.
A castle built on the site in later years was funded and supported by a toll collection system for the nearby road. Evidence for this comes from a deed gift issued by Emperor Henry II in the year 1002. The castle itself was not mentioned until in 1253, th the time when the keep (Bergfried) was erected. Held by the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg, the fortress was significantly enlarged under the rule of the archbishops Burkhard Weisbriach and Leonhard von Keutschach during the 15th century, to reach the form it still has today. The toll system on the Radtsädter Tauern Pass road supported the castle and village until in 1803 when the toll collection was abandoned during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1806 the castle became a possession of the Austrian state.
In 1894 Burg Mauterndorf was purchased by Hermann Epenstein (1851–1934), a Christian of Jewish descent, who served as an Prussian Army surgeon in Berlin. He refurbished and restored the decayed castle with great effort for use as a residence. In 1908 he obtained the minor title of a Ritter von Mauternburg by the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I for his meritorious services and donation to the Crown.
During his service in German South-West Africa in the late 1880s, Epenstein had become friends with Commissioner Heinrich Ernst Göring. Back in Germany, he offered the Göring family hospitality in his residences. He became the attending physician (and slightly hidden lover) of Göring's wife Franziska as well as the godfather and mentor of his children. The Göring family, among them the younger sons Hermann and Albert, frequently stayed at Mauterndorf Castle as Epenstein's guests. Epenstein later became a naturalized Austrian citizen and retired after World War I to live in Mauterndorf. In 1923 he received Hermann Göring who had fled from Germany after the failed Beer Hall Putsch to evade criminal prosecution.
When Epenstein died in 1934, the property would pass to his widow who herself bequested the castle to Epenstein's sponsored child Hermann Göring on her death in 1939. Göring, however, never was formally the owner of the castle as an entry in the land register never occurred, which was decided in a yearlong lawsuit between Epenstein's heirs and the state of Germany. At the end of World War II, Göring tried to flee to 'the castle of my youth', he did however surrender to US Army forces at nearby Bruck because he was afraid of Red Army troops proceeding up the Mur valley towards Mauterndorf.
Since 1968 the building is owned by the state of Salzburg, a castle museum has been established in 2003. A number of other enterprises share the premises including a noted local restaurant and catering service. Other uses have been as a meeting place for scientific conferences of international standing and as venue for various cultural events.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.