Burg Lockenhaus was built in Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles around 1200, and was initially called 'Leuca' or Léka. The castle is in the Güns Valley, set amidst a hilly terrain in eastern Austria, near the Hungarian border towards Kőszeg.
Settlements in the area of Burg Lockenhaus date to the Stone Age. The castle was built around 1200, although it first appears in written records dated to 1242. Burg Lockenhaus was built to defend the area against the Mongols. The castle was destroyed in 1337 under Charles I of Hungary.
The town was given a market status in 1492. Finally the castle went to the Nadasdy family. Francis II Nadasdy married Elizabeth Báthory, a descendant of Stephen VIII Báthory, who went down in history as the Blood Countess, because of her reign of terror, torturing, and murdering hundreds of women for sadistic pleasure.
The castle and the town saw substantial improvements during the reign of Francis III Nadasdy (1622–1671). During the Turkish War in 1683, there was substantial damage to the town and the castle. In the uprising during the 18th century, there was further looting and destruction.
Today castle facilities are available for weddings, cultural events, conferences, seminars and meetings.
From both the cultural and historical points of view, Lockenhaus Castle, the last genuine knights’ castle with the original medieval kitchen, sanctuary, knights’ hall, chapel and priest’s lodging, puts all other Burgenland fortresses in the shade. A sanctuary in which the light enters through a vaulted ceiling, as it does in many Crusader fortresses, was dedicated to the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar are also supposed to have used the knights’ hall, with the Gothic rib vaulted ceiling, as a secret meeting place. Today Lockenhaus Castle houses a museum with exhibits and guided tours on key points of the castle’s history.
The dungeon is particularly notable. It was hewn out of the rock by Turkish prisoners. According to one document, sixteen Turks were burnt alive in it in 1557. Another feature is the so-called cult room, an underground room about which there are various theories.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.