Falkenstein Castle

Falkenstein Castle, locally known as Burg Falkenstein, lies north of the village of the same name, in the province of Lower Austria in Austria.

Falkenstein Castle was founded around 1050 under Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor, as a frontier castle protecting the lands of the House of Babenberg against enemies from the north. It was built upon an 80-meters high limestone cliff. It was the site of a much older earthen fort.

The first lords of Falkenstein were ministerials and vassals of the House of Babenberg. The first Lord of Falkenstein was mentioned in 1118; Ulrich von Falkenstein. In 1177 the last real Lord of Falkenstein was mentioned: Wernhart II von Falkenstein. Then both his daughters married two brothers from the Streun von Schwarzenau family and they took over the fief of Falkenstein and also started to call themselves 'of Falkenstein'.

In 1296 Friedrich II von Liechtenstein was holder of the fief. He had to flee after having supported a failed rebellion against Duke Albrecht I. The castle was confiscated and from then on became a pledge property. Between 1369 and 1395 the castle was enlarged and strengthened.

In 1538 a group of some 150 Hutterites were imprisoned for some time in the castle's dungeons before being transferred to Trieste in Italy to be sold there as galley slaves.

Frankenstein Castle was sold, in 1572, by Emperor Maximilian II to Hans III, Baron of Trautson. In 1598 his son Paul Sixtus III was elevated to Imperial Count. He then started to rebuilt the castle into a Renaissance fortress.

In 1645, during the Thirty Years' War, the castle was damaged during a siege by the Swedes led by the Swedish Field Marshal Lennart Torstensson. It was taken but not demolished afterwards. The Swedes occupied the castle for 15 months before they were expelled after a siege by the Habsburg Imperial Army. After that the castle was garrisoned shortly and damaged parts were provisionally repaired. That way it could still serve as a place of refuge for the locals during the threat of marauding Turkish and Kuruc troops during the 2nd part of the 17th century.

Shortly after that Falkenstein Castle lost its military importance. Its owners started to use it as a stone quarry for the locals. This lasted until 1830. During that time and up until 1850 the castle ruin was sold and resold several times until it was purchased by the forefathers of the present owners. In 1990 they opened up the castle for visitors.

At present Falkenstein Castle can be visited for a fee during the summer months. A very nice castle ruin.


Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
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Falkenstein Castle

Falkenstein Castle, locally known as Burg Falkenstein, lies north of the village of the same name, in the province of Lower Austria in Austria.

Falkenstein Castle was founded around 1050 under Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor, as a frontier castle protecting the lands of the House of Babenberg against enemies from the north. It was built upon an 80-meters high limestone cliff. It was the site of a much older earthen fort.

The first lords of Falkenstein were ministerials and vassals of the House of Babenberg. The first Lord of Falkenstein was mentioned in 1118; Ulrich von Falkenstein. In 1177 the last real Lord of Falkenstein was mentioned: Wernhart II von Falkenstein. Then both his daughters married two brothers from the Streun von Schwarzenau family and they took over the fief of Falkenstein and also started to call themselves 'of Falkenstein'.

In 1296 Friedrich II von Liechtenstein was holder of the fief. He had to flee after having supported a failed rebellion against Duke Albrecht I. The castle was confiscated and from then on became a pledge property. Between 1369 and 1395 the castle was enlarged and strengthened.

In 1538 a group of some 150 Hutterites were imprisoned for some time in the castle's dungeons before being transferred to Trieste in Italy to be sold there as galley slaves.

Frankenstein Castle was sold, in 1572, by Emperor Maximilian II to Hans III, Baron of Trautson. In 1598 his son Paul Sixtus III was elevated to Imperial Count. He then started to rebuilt the castle into a Renaissance fortress.

In 1645, during the Thirty Years' War, the castle was damaged during a siege by the Swedes led by the Swedish Field Marshal Lennart Torstensson. It was taken but not demolished afterwards. The Swedes occupied the castle for 15 months before they were expelled after a siege by the Habsburg Imperial Army. After that the castle was garrisoned shortly and damaged parts were provisionally repaired. That way it could still serve as a place of refuge for the locals during the threat of marauding Turkish and Kuruc troops during the 2nd part of the 17th century.

Shortly after that Falkenstein Castle lost its military importance. Its owners started to use it as a stone quarry for the locals. This lasted until 1830. During that time and up until 1850 the castle ruin was sold and resold several times until it was purchased by the forefathers of the present owners. In 1990 they opened up the castle for visitors.

At present Falkenstein Castle can be visited for a fee during the summer months. A very nice castle ruin.


Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://castles.nl/falkenstein-castle#sigFreeIdb7a70e6d62