The Villa Wartholz is a former imperial villa in Reichenau an der Rax. Villa Wartholz was designed by Heinrich von Ferstel in the historicist style in the years 1870 to 1872 for Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria. The castle-like building with towers was for recreational purposes, not for military means. The villa was designed with a view over the valley. Karl Ludwig spent so much time in this area, he reserved this place only for hunting by the imperial court. It was built near by his home Karl-Ludwig-Haus on the Rax.
This area around Reichenau was a popular tourist area for the aristocratic society since the construction of the Southern Railway. Members of the imperial family, and other members of the nobility, artists and scientists met at the Villa Wartholz. Nearby another palace subsequently arose, the Schloss Rothschild.
The villa also was used by Emperor Charles I of Austria and Empress Zita. Their son, Otto von Habsburg (1912 – 2011) was born in Villa Wartholz. His baptism and first Communion were received in the chapel, which was located in the villa. On 17 August 1917, Otto von Habsburg held a ceremony where he handed over the Military Order of Maria Theresa to 24 officers, among them Kövess, Dankl, Arz, Wenzel von Wurm, Cavallar and Banfield.
Due to the Habsburg Law the Wartholz villa was owned by the Austrian state. The Habsburgs staked a claim of private ownership and for many years this was a point of contention whether they would be reinstituted as owners. In 1973, the government sold the mansion to the State of Lower Austria. From this it was again sold in 1982 and is now privately owned.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.