The Morosini-Grimani Castle is a medieval edifice with expressed Renaissance features. It was named after the two families, its owners.
Svetvinčenat was erected on the border which changed through history with the exchange of conquerors. It was first mentioned in 983 in the document by Oton II as the property of the Bishop of Poreč. Its ownership was first taken over by the Castropola family, and then by the Morosini family in 1384. Pietro Morosini was last mentioned as the master of Svetvinčenat in 1529. The new owners, the Grimani family, were being mentioned in the written documents since 1560. The Grimanis renovated the castle after the fire.
The castle is shaped as a square. There are two round towers on the corners of its northern walls, while a square tower is located on the southeast wall. The southeast part was used as the residential area. The entire palace was located within the defensive walls. The main entrance into the Marosini-Grimani castle is at the south facade, which used to be accessed by a drawbridge. Above the entrance are plates noting the year of the construction (1485) and the renovation (1589).
The Morosini family completed the renovation of the castle in the 15th century, which marked the transformation of the location into a Renaissance settlement with the square and the cistern in the centre, surrounded by the castle, the parish church and the loggia as well as by other public buildings. As the oldest structure on the square, the castle was constructed in the 3:5 ratio. The newly designed square, the Renaissance church as well as the entire urban network of the town were also designed accordingly. Therefore, the Morosini-Grimani castle represents a form of the late medieval construction with expressed Renaissance characteristics.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.