Schloss Stainz is a former monastery of the Augustinian Canons in Stainz. Today the Baroque complex belongs to the Counts of Meran and hosts two museum collections from the Universal Museum Joanneum.
Stainz Priory was founded by the Augustinian Canons in 1229 when Leutold I von Wildon, lord of the manor of Stainz, allowed a small church with a monastery attached to be established on the mountain where his castle stood. The monastery was settled by canons regular from Seckau Priory.
The priory experienced its heyday during the early 16th century under provost Jakob Roselenz (1596-1629), under whom the community was reorganised and the church, previously neglected, was enlarged. The interior was later refurbished in the Baroque style with extensive stucco decoration. The church organ counts among the largest and most melodious in Styria and was restored in 1980.
The monastery was dissolved in 1785 as part of the rationalist reforms of the Emperor Joseph II. The church however remained in use.
In 1840 Archduke Johann, son of Leopold II and an avid hunter, purchased the building complex from the town for the sum of 40,000 guilders for use as a hunting box, known thereafter as Schloss Stainz. Since his death in 1859, it has remained in the family estate of his descendants, the Counts of Meran.
Today, besides offering gardens and rooms to rent for engagements, the castle houses two collections from the Universal Museum Joanneum. The Steirisches Jagdmuseum ('Styrian Hunting Museum') was opened in 2006. The interdisciplinary approach of this collection combines contemporary technology with historic equipment, weapons and specimens to explore the historical, sociological and anthropological, as well as the philosophical and ethical phenomena of the human practice of hunting in addition to wildlife ecology.
In 2009 the Landwirtschaftsmuseum Schloss Stainz ('Museum of Agriculture and Forestry') also opened, displaying collections of rural Styrian folk culture. The main focus of the exhibition is on the agricultural implements and the household effects of the Styrian countryside from the Stone Age to the present. The exhibition displays objects related to the different branches of agriculture and husbandry and offers a fitting companion to the Hunting Museum.
In addition to the two permanent exhibitions of the Joanneum, areas of the castle, for example the courtyard, the cellar, the arcades and the terrace, are also rented out for private events.References:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.