Landskron is a ruined castle northeast of Villach in the state of Carinthia. The estates around Lake Ossiach were first mentioned in an 878 deed issued by the East Frankish king Carloman of Bavaria, who granted them to the monastery of Altötting he had established shortly before. About 1024 the area was among the Carinthian possessions of one Count Ozi of the Chiemgau, probably a scion of the Otakar dynasty, who founded Ossiach Abbey nearby. A castle already existed, when in 1330 the estates were acquired by the Counts of Ortenburg; Landskron itself was first mentioned in 1351.
In 1355, the Habsburg duke Albert II of Austria, also Carinthian duke since 1335, purchased Landskron Castle as a strategic important stronghold within the Carinthian possessions of the Bamberg prince-bishops. Later, the Habsburg rulers temporarily gave it in pawn to the Counts of Celje, heirs of the Ortenburg dynasty in 1418, and the Lords of Stubenberg. In 1511 Emperor Maximilian bestowed the estate to the Knightly Order of Saint George at Millstatt, while the fortress decayed.
In 1542 Emperor Ferdinand I finally sold Landskron Castle to the Ortenburg castellan Christoph Khevenhüller in 1542, who made the castle his main residence and had it rebuilt in a lavish Renaissance style. In 1552 Khevenhüller even received the visit of Emperor Charles V, who, on the run from the Protestant troops of Elector Maurice of Saxony, had fled to Carinthia. Nevertheless the Khevenhüllers, themselves Protestant, were stripped of Landskron Castle by order of Emperor Ferdinand II in 1628.
The castle passed to the comital family of Dietrichstein in 1639. After the 1648 Peace of Westphalia the Khevenhüllers claimed it back and began a decades-long lawsuit, though without success. A blaze in 1812 finally devastated Landskron, which was not rebuilt and fell into ruins. In 1953, its remains were conserved and a restaurant was opened within its walls. Today the castle is also known for its falconry centre conducting regular flying demonstrations.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.