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.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.