Kreuzenstein Castle

Even in prehistoric times there was a ringfort as a fortification situated where the present Kreuzenstein Castle now stands. In the 12th century a castle complex was built here, which passed into the possession of the Habsburgs in the year 1278. During the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) it was conquered by Swedish troops in 1645 and was blown up in three places when the troops withdrew. The remains of the ruins were used as building material by the people living nearby. Only parts of the curtain wall, the shaft of the east tower and parts of the chapel remained.
In the 18th century the family of Count Wilczek purchased the castle ruin and in 1874 began the construction of a “show castle”. This was built in a completely different way to the original castle. However, wall parts that still existed were included in the construction. In addition, for the construction of the new “show castle”, many original building structures were brought from all over Europe. This mixture of different structures and various architectural styles makes Kreuzenstein Castle an exceptional witness of the Middle Ages. The construction works lasted over 30 years. Emperor Wilhelm II was also present when the castle was re-opened in 1906.
A large fire in the year 1915 badly damaged the library and archives wing. It destroyed the art collection which was housed there, including historical music instruments, manuscripts and original etchings by artists such as Dürer and Cranach. The structural damage could be repaired, but in the Second World War artillery shells hit the castle. Bullet holes can still be seen in places, reminding one of the destruction, but also giving proof of the staunchness of the castle.
Nowadays the castle is a popular tourist attraction in the surroundings of Vienna. The castle rises between the Danube and the Vienna Woods and offers a view over the Korneuburg Basin, the city of Vienna and large expanses of Lower Austria. The exceptional castle and its surroundings have already served as backdrop in many film and television productions including many horror films from the 70s and an Austrian television series for children. Films such as “Season of the Witch”, “The Pillars of the Earth” and the Disney production “The Three Musketeers” were made here.

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