Ort castle was founded around 1080 by Hartnidus of Ort, and improvements continued to be made into the thirteenth century - for example by Hartnidus V in 1244. In 1344 the brothers Friedrich and Reinprecht I of Wallsee purchased the castle, which became Friedrich’s sole possession on January 25, 1350. The castle remained in the possession of the Wallsee family until 1483, when Schloss Ort passed to Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor.
From 1484 to 1491, the castle was governed by Gotthard von Starhenberg, the Governor of Upper Austria. In 1492, Bernhard of Starhenberg and later his descendants ruled the castle until 1584. In 1588, the castle was purchased by Weikhard Freiherr of Pollheim, but he sold the castle on April 6, 1595 to the city of Gmunden. However, Gmunden sold the castle to Rudolf II that same year. The castle then passed to other owners before finally being acquired by Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor.
In 1876, the castle was acquired by Archduke John Salvator of Austria (John of Tuscany) (1852 – ca. 1911), but on October 6, 1889, he renounced his title and connections to the Habsburg imperial house and changed his name to Johann Orth, the tenth and last child of Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany and Maria Antonietta of the Two Sicilies departing for South America in 1890 with his morganatic wife on his own ship, the St. Margaret. Johann Nepomuk Salvator was presumed lost at sea in 1890, and declared dead in 1911, but his actual date of death is unknown.
The castle was acquired by Franz Joseph I of Austria in 1914, and it was intended for students of Gmunden’s schools to be allowed to visit the castle, but this plan was interrupted by World War I.
At present the castle is being used for a study center of the Federal Ministry for Land and Forestry. On January 5, 1995, the castle was officially acquired by the city of Gmunden.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.