Riegersburg Castle

Riegersburg, Austria

Riegersburg Castle is a medieval castle situated on a dormant volcano above the town of Riegersburg. The castle is owned by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein and contains a museum with changing exhibitions.

The castle was built on a hill which had once been an ancient volcano. To be precise, it is the petrified remains of the solidified molten interior, a volcanic neck of a large stratovolcano that probably became extinct two or so million years ago, like other similar hills in north-central Europe. The peak is at 482 meters above sea level. The ancient basalt of the hill was used to build the castle.

People have been living in the area around Riegersburg for a few thousand years. A large village was founded in the 9th century BC. with 300 people living here. Later, from 15 BC. until 476 AD. the region was part of the Roman Empire. In the 3rd and 9th century Bavarians immigrated and Hungarians invaded from the East. It was the beginning of a long time of armed conflicts. The history of the castle begins in the year 1122. The first knight who is known to have lived there is Rudiger von Hohenberg. Over the centuries the castle had many different owners, but only few played an important role. Among the later owners is the family of the Walseer who had feud with the sovereign of Styria in 1415. The most important owner was the baroness Katharina Elisabeth von Wechsler, who married Galler and who was known as Gallerin. Between 1637 and 1653 she finished the castle, making it one of the biggest and strongest castles in the country.

The castle is surrounded by 2 miles of walls with 5 gates and 2 trenches and it contains 108 rooms. In the 17th century the border with the Ottoman Empire was sometimes only 20 to 25 km away from the castle and the area was troubled by conflicts with the Turks and Hungarians. The castle was a safe place for the people nearby, sometimes offering refuge inside its walls for a few thousand. Lady Gallerin married three times and had one daughter who married a Count Purgstall. The castle passed to the Purgstall family, who died out around 1800. In 1822, the castle was bought by Sovereign Johann Josef von Liechtenstein. It has belonged to the von Liechtenstein family until the present day. The castle was taken by the 10th Guards Rifle Division of Soviet forces advancing towards Graz on 8 May 1945.

The castle is owned by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein, who live down the village in a house. The castle serves as a museum, with 25 out of the 108 rooms being opened for visiting. Sixteen of the rooms show the history of Riegersburg Castle and nine deal with witches and sorcerers.



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Founded: 1122
Category: Castles and fortifications in Austria


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User Reviews

Johannes Kainz (4 months ago)
It's a beautiful castle from the outside, sadly over the past few years it got so over-renovated on the inside that once you're inside you can't really tell it apart from any cheap modern museum. That's really sad to see knowing what an awesome castle it once was. Yet another piece of Austrian Culture that fell to Tourism...
Daniel Coulton Shaw (daniel shaw) (6 months ago)
Amazing day trip for the family. Great Ferrara which ends in the restaurant and a very interesting castle tour with weapons and witches. Afterwards try a trip for cake and coffee to the nearby zotter chocolate factory.
Rea Rubio-Stock (7 months ago)
It was an amazing tour! The audio translator helps of understanding the history, glad they have it for free! I did enjoy the inside castle tour and the amazing scenic view outside from the top going down to the city??
Oleksandr Protsenko (8 months ago)
Fortress on the rock. A fortress with a double moat. A fortress that has not been conquered by anyone for many centuries. The fortress was built by Rüdiger in 1122. However, the fortress got its current appearance in the 17th century. The fortress belongs to the Liechtenstein family since 1822. Now the exposition of the fortress consists of 3 museums - the Museum of Weapons, the Museum of Witches (many people were accused and killed for witchcraft, for wreaking havoc, for drought, for bad weather, etc.) and the Museum of the Castle itself. Very interesting. The entrance ticket costs 21.50 euros. Interesting, beautiful, nice view!
Åsa Hidmark (8 months ago)
Firstly, we did the schnitzel jagt and it was too difficult for us ?. No seriously we went to all the three museums, Hexen, Waffen, Burg. There was alot of informative text, however sometimes too much, if you go with kids. None of the text on the walls was in English (obs audio may have been available in English I don’t know). Its well worth a visit. The playground outside is great. The insights into the brutality of the rule of the nobility is gruesome.
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