Hohenwerfen Fortress (Austria)

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Castle Hohenwerfen, also known as Erlebnisburg (literally: "Castle of Experience") is an amazing castle in Austria. The castle sits high above the Austrian town of Werfen in the Salzach Valley, about 40 km south of the city of Salzburg. It is located in one of the two majestic mountains of Berchtesgaden and Tennengebirgs, which are part of the Alps.

The Salzburg lands are located in the center of a big valley. From the south, the valley is surrounded by two impressive mountain ranges that create a natural barrier to any traveler or a conqueror. The mountain pass "Lueg" is the only way to cross the mountains. Therefore, it was a strategic stronghold for many centuries Salzburg. Between 1075 and 1078, to strengthen the Lueg Pass, the Prince Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg built a castle ( "Burg") near the town of Werfen on top of a 155m high rock. The castle was built during the imperial investiture controversy, which was the most significant conflict in medieval Europe between Church and State for the right to appointments, or investitures, of Church officials, as bishops and abbots. Gebhard, an ally of Pope Gregory VII and ANTIRE Rudolf of Swabia, had three main castles extended to ensure the archbishopric of Salzburg against the forces of King Henry IV: Hohenwerfen, and the Hohensalzburg Castle Petersberg in Friesach in Carinthia. However Gebhard was expelled in 1077 and could not return to Salzburg until 1086, only to die in Hohenwerfen two years later, June 15, 1088.

In later centuries Hohenwerfen served rulers of Salzburg, the prince archbishops, not only as a military base, but also as a residence and hunting lodge.
Alternatively, it was used as a state prison and then had a reputation a bit 'left. His prison walls have witnessed the tragic fate of many "criminals" who spent their days there. Various noble highly ordered had been imprisoned in the castle including rulers, as Archbishop Adalbert III (arrested by his own ministry in 1198), Count Albert of Friesach (in 1253), the Styrian governor Siegmund von Dietrichstein (captured by insurgent peasants in 1525 ), and the Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau, who died here in 1617, after six years of imprisonment.
In the 12th century (between 1127 and 1142) during the reign of Archbishop Konrad I The castle has been strengthened and expanded.
In 1278, the Archbishop of Salzburg was recognized sovereign principality of the Holy Roman Empire and gradually turned into a relatively independent of the clerical state.
In the 14th century it was recognized the ultimate independence of the Archbishop of Salzburg from Bavaria.
In the 15th century, Archbishop Eberhard III of Neuhaus (was Archbishop of Salzburg from 1403 until 1427) rebuilt the castle, taking into account the development of artillery.

In the 1524-1525 year, War of German peasants broke out in Germany. Shocked by the Protestant resistance against the powerful Prince Archbishop, farmers have faced Hohenwerfen on their way to Salzburg. Without any possibility, the castle was looted and burned to the grounds from the hordes in revolt. After the unsuccessful siege of the Hohensalzburg Fortress, the peasants were forced to surrender and the Prince Archbishop Matthäus Lang ordered to re-built the Hohenwerfen castle. To punish local farmers for their support of the riots, they were forced to work for reconstruction.
In 1535 begins another period of construction of the castle Hohenwerfen. In the castle, they were built new towers and the outer walls have been rebuilt.
In 1560, in the castle they were built additional towers, including Torre di Fallturm. The inner courtyard has a modern look.
Import of state-of-the-art know-how in Italy in the construction of fortifications and ramparts which should stand firearms and cannons, the Prince Archbishop Johann Kuen-Belasy ordered a massive re-modeling Hohenwerfen in 1563.
In 1565-1566, in the castle, St.Sigismund Chapel rebuilt in the Gothic style. However, the Romanesque parts of the walls you can also find today.
In 1568, Arsenal was built, it is now a museum of weapons.
Prince Archbishop Johann Jakob ordered the construction of a large central tower (keep) for the castle in 1573.
More adaptations followed during 30 years of war between 1608 and 1638. This included the construction of a tower of dust gun during the reign of Prince Archbishop Paris Lodron in 1623. At that time, in the castle numerous towers were built and a water reservoir. After that, in the architecture of the castle Hohenwerfen there were significant changes to the present day.

In 1800, in the wake of the Napoleonic wars, all cannons have been removed from the castle.
Following the secularisation of Salzburg, since 1803, the castle changed over the Bavarians and was left to fall into disrepair and ruin.
The Emperor Francis I of Austria Hohenwerfen prevented from destruction, but the Bavarians, who temporarily held in Salzburg as part of their territory, the building neglected and left to decay.
In 1816, Salzburg has become part of Austria with the decision of the Congress of Vienna. The first update was made under Austrian rule between 1824 and 1833. At that time, Archduke John, brother of the emperor, had the medieval castle repaired and restored for romantic and nostalgic reasons. The castle was then mostly used as a hunting base.
In 1876, Hohenwerfen fortress was sold to Count Oswald von Thun-Hohenstein.
In 1898 Archduke Archduke Eugen of Austria bought the castle and expanded the complex into a stately home and added a large collection of art and weapons.

In 1931 the main building of the castle was damaged by fire. A lot of exhibits and artifacts were destroyed. In a year, the castle was restored, and in 1938, was sold to the administration Salzburg Reichsgau.
After World War II it was used as a training camp in the Austrian Gendarmerie (rural police) until 1987.
In 1987, the Hohenwerfen castle has been open to the public. These days the bastion now, expanded and renovated several times over the centuries, works as an adventure castle for its visitors. Among the many attractions offered by the fortress are guided tours that show his collection large weapons, the historic Salzburg Falconry with the falconry museum, as well as an elegant fortress tavern. The historic Falconry Center is a special attraction, offering daily flight demonstrations by various birds of prey.

Images of the castle

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Useful infos

Latitude: 47.482932
Longitude: 13.1889589
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Map of Hohenwerfen Fortress