Mittersill Castle

Mittersill, Austria

The area surrounding the Mittersill Castle have been settled since at least the last 4000 years, but the significance of the castle in trans-alpine traffic became especially important between the 10th to 14th centuries.

The first records known of the castle date to the 12th century while Pinzgau was under the control of the Duchy of Bavaria, when the Counts of Lechsgemünd decided to establish their family seat there. The site had been chosen on the northern side of the Salzach river because of its ideal location in not only being able to control merchant traffic from Pass Thurn but also that exiting from the southern Felber valley. The castle itself was built in a horseshoe-shape, with an opening to the east and a defensive wall to the south.

In 1228 the fiefdom of Pinzgau came under the control of the Archbishopric of Salzburg and the castle was made the seat of the Archbishops in Upper Pinzgau, and was used as a regional court for almost the next 600 years, including witch trials in Pinzgau, that started in the 16th century and continued into the 18th century. In 1816 after the Napoleonic Wars the Regional Court was transformed into a k. u. k. District Court, and despite the abolition of the Archbishopric of Salzburg in 1806, clergy continued to reside in the castle until as late as 1850.

During the German German Peasants' War of 1525-1526 the castle was plundered and burnt to the ground. Rebuilding of the castle started in 1537 at a cost of 2500 Guilder to give it the appearance that it bears today, with later rebuilding work in the 16th century made after further smaller fires in 1555 and 1597. Though the castle was rebuilt to incorporate already existing structural elements, it was enhanced by newer defensive technologies and more modern comforts. So it was that the west side was strengthened through addition of its two characteristic turrets. In the southern one, the so-called “Witches’ Tower”, a castle chapel was created on the upper floor.

In 1880 the castle was auctioned off, for a price of 4000 Guilder to grain merchant Anton Hahn who himself sold the castle two years later to Countess Marie Larisch von Moennich who employed architect Carl Gangolf Kayser in making renovations to the building. Ownership changed several times in the years that followed, the appearance of its interior rooms changing with each passing resident. Mittersill Castle experienced a very glamorous period from 1935-67 under the leadership of Baron Hubert von Pantz. Notable guests during this period include Dutch Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard, the Shah of Persia, Clark Gable, Henry Ford, Bob Hope and Aristotle Onassis. During this period the castle suffered further fire damage when in 1938 it was struck by lightning.

During the Nazi period the castle was used as a State Institute think-tank for Inner Asia and as a sub-department of the 'Ahnenerbe e.V.' (a Nazi German think tank for Intellectual Ancient History). For a short time the castle was used as an outer command base for the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, and some female prisoners were brought here.



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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Austria


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Loren Agnes (4 months ago)
If you’re deciding whether or not to book SM for a hotel stay, be aware that many of the reviews are from groups who only had 1 meal here, wandered around the hotel for a few minutes to see the monument, or stopped for a quick drink at the property. Schloss-Mittersill is a charming castle, located next to a very noisy highway. It is a very basic hotel—not a resort. Our weeklong stay was extremely mixed. There are a several beautiful and picturesque look outs and garden nooks. We would return to the restaurant for dinner, etc. The SM Hotel feels whimsical and it’s easy to daydream about the storied, star-studded, exciting past—but I think the best days of the enchanted hotel vibe are bygone. The sauna & pool amenities are very ill equipped. Alex was our welcome greeter and he is an absolute star. Experiences with customer service were either very good, or very bad. Again, mixed. Our group ultimately had a great time on vacation because we focused on the good, made the most of our daytime activities and were too tired from having fun to overthink to oddness of our hotel. We did miss having a real modern sauna, pools & wellness center to take advantage of each evening though. This hotel is very child friendly! But yes, there are just too many superior options in the area to secure a comfortable, relaxing and luxurious feeling vacation experience. Definitely visit for dinner or brunch—but for the best experience…consider sleep, sauna & swimming elsewhere. Take care!
Rikard Wikander (4 months ago)
A beautiful castle with an exciting history! Great location for hiking around Zell am See, Großglockner and other beautiful spots! Lovely rooms and spa department as well as great lounge areas and overall spaces. We loved staying here and the only drawback was a slight lack of staff in the bar and restaurant and a bit overpriced in the restaurant. Also charging 14€ / day to park in a garage that belongs to the hotel doesn’t make sense. Overall this is a really great place but some potential to improve is there!
David McPherson (11 months ago)
5 star dining, 5 star setting in an old castle, 5 star service and a super price too.
Nuwan Gomes (14 months ago)
Beautiful location with a 1000 year history! Staff was very welcoming/friendly and rooms were great. Ask for a room with a panoramic view and don't forget to take their tour in which they explain the history of the castle.
Daria Zvjaginceva (2 years ago)
Great place with the best view from spa, where I have ever been. Really friendly and helpful staff. Interesting interior
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