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:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.