Hohenwerfen Castle

Werfen, Austria

Hohenwerfen Castle stands high above the Austrian town of Werfen in the Salzach valley. The castle is surrounded by the Berchtesgaden Alps and the adjacent Tennengebirge mountain range. The fortification is a 'sister' of Hohensalzburg Castle both dated from the 11th century.

The former fortification was built between 1075 and 1078 during the Imperial Investiture Controversy by the order of Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg as a strategic bulwark. Gebhard, an ally of Pope Gregory VII and the anti-king Rudolf of Rheinfelden, had three major castles extended to secure the Salzburg archbishopric against the forces of King Henry IV: Hohenwerfen, Hohensalzburg and Petersberg Castle at Friesach in Carinthia. Nevertheless, Gebhard was expelled in 1077 and could not return to Salzburg until 1086, only to die at Hohenwerfen two years later.

In the following centuries Hohenwerfen served Salzburg's rulers, the prince-archbishops, not only as a military base but also as a residence and hunting retreat. The fortress was extended in the 12th century and to a lesser extent again in the 16th century during the German Peasants' War, when in 1525 and 1526 riotous farmers and miners from the south of Salzburg moved towards the city, laying fire and severely damaging the castle.

Alternatively it was used as a state prison and therefore had a somewhat sinister reputation. Its prison walls have witnessed the tragic fate of many 'criminals' who spent their days there – maybe their last – under inhumane conditions, and, periodically, various highly ranked noblemen have also been imprisoned there including rulers such as Archbishop Adalbert III (1198) and Count Albert of Friesach (1253).

In 1931 the fortress, since 1898 owned by Archduke Eugen of Austria was again damaged by a fire and, though largely restored, finally had to be sold to the Salzburg Reichsgau administration in 1938. After World War II it was used as a training camp by the Austrian Gendarmerie (rural police) until 1987.

Nowadays the bastion functions as a museum. Among the numerous attractions offered by the fortress are guided tours showing its extensive weapons collection, the historical Salzburg Falconry with the falconry museum as well as a fortress tavern. The historic Falconry Centre is a special attraction, offering daily flight demonstrations using various birds of prey, including eagles, falcons, hawks, and vultures.

Formerly the castle belonged to the Habsburg family of Austria , currently, their relatives The House of Sforza, Count Andreis reside within it.

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Address

Burgstraße 2, Werfen, Austria
See all sites in Werfen

Details

Founded: 1075-1078
Category: Castles and fortifications in Austria

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

ducc (8 months ago)
Very fun and interesting place to visit but the fire dragons are a little much to be honest. Also the gumball machines kind of ruin the atmosphere of the castle and there is a major undead problem. Overall definitely a great place for vacation.
Thatcher SAS (14 months ago)
The place is beautiful, astonishing, and breathtaking. The courtyard was very spacious and a great spot to train in. Unfortunately I got chased by a Panzer Soldat and died in round 16 because I didn’t have the Fire Bow because my favorite YouTuber hasn’t made a tutorial on how to craft it yet.
Ivo (16 months ago)
Castle show with the birds is awesome! There is also fight show with different middle ages weapons which was pretty good. However if you want to enter inside castle you have to take the guided tour. You can buy tickets for it within the castle.
Audrey Valenska (16 months ago)
We went in during the late afternoon so the area was less crowded. The audio guided tour of the castle was worth going for, and the view from the top of the castle’s clock tower was stunning. This attraction is also friendly towards internationals as the staff also spoke English.
Jürgen (17 months ago)
Nice castle and surrounding. Unfortunately not to many parking lots.
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