Mauerbach Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery. Founded in 1314 by the Austrian duke Frederick the Fair and rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Baroque monastic complex is one of the most important structures of its kind in Austria.
The monastery was plundered and set on fire by Ottoman troops during the 1529 Siege of Vienna and suffered further serious structural damage by the 1590 Neulengbach earthquake. Under Abbot Georg Fasel (1616-1631) an intensive rebuilding programme began, finishing in 1660, during which the great majority of the present-day buildings were constructed. The chronicle of the charterhouse written by Abbot Leopold Brenner was available from as early as 1669, but was not printed until 1725. Brenner had lived here from 1641 and made his profession in 1650, and was thus an eye witness of the building of the early Baroque monastery. In 1683 renewed Turkish assaults during the Battle of Vienna caused more destruction, launching a further programme of repairs and refurbishment s which finished only in 1750.
In 1782 the monastery was dissolved as 'non-productive' by Emperor Joseph II during his rationalist reforms and from 1786 the premises were used for the care of the old and incurably ill of the city of Vienna. Many structural alterations were carried out to adapt the buildings to their new function.
In 1944-45 the former monastery was put to use as an emergency hospital. Between 1945 and 1961 the charterhouse was used to house homeless people. During this period the structure was badly neglected, and allowed to fall derelict from exposure to the elements. Since 1984 the complex has housed the workshops of the Bundesdenkmalamt (Monuments Office).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.