Schloss Rosenburg Castle in Lower Austria

The Rosenburg Castle in Lower Austria - one of Austria′s most popular destinations for day-trips

There are various castles and fortifications in Austria and Germany that bear the name "Rosenburg", but if somebody uses the term without further specifications, he usually refers to the Schloss Rosenburg Castle in Lower Austria. It is among the most famous castles of the country - once a medieval fortress, it was later turned into a Renaissance castle.

It is situated in the middle of a nature reserve, the Naturpark Kamptal - which adds tremendously to its appeal. The famous Austrian folk song "Es liegt ein Schloss in Österreich" ("There is a castle in Austria") is widely assumed to refer to the Rosenburg. The first castle on the site was erected in Romanesque style in the 12th century. The first written record dates back to 1175. Of this castle, only some of the foundations are preserved in the base of the current castle keep.

During the 15th century, the Rosenburg was vastly extended under the rule of Count Caspar von Rogendorf. With this extension, the castle was also transformed stylistically and turned Gothic. Of this version, the current chapel and most of the outer-most walls are preserved. Especially immediately after the development, the Rosenburg served repeatedly as a stronghold of the Austrian armies in their struggle with Hungarian invaders.

Various Changes of the Rosenburg Landlords

Of all people it had to be a protestant that kicked the Rosenburg into a new age: Under the rule and by order of Sebastian Grabner, most of the Gothic Rosenburg was demolished between 1593 and 1597. Following the demolition, a new castle was built in Renaissance style was built with an impressive 13 towers - finally the building that survived until today. In addition to the towers, the Rosenburg was equipped with fancy tournament grounds that were barely ever used and 46 arcades in 1614.

Only three years before, the Counter Reformation had caused yet another change in landlords: Now Cardinal von Dietrichstein, quite obviously a Catholic, was in charge with running the Rosenburg. This did not please the local Protestants; in 1620, the castle was besieged and finally conquered by Lutheran troops of the "Horner Bund" ("Horn Union", referring to the nearby town).

Finally, the Rosenburg became the property of the House of Sprinzenstein. When Countess Maria Regina von Sprinzenstein got married to Count Leopold Graf Hoyos in 1681, the two dynasties merged and the new landlords of the Rosenburg were now called "von Hoyos-Sprinzenstein". They proved to be rather tough, surviving until today and still owning the Rosenburg.

Rising to one of Lower Austria′s most popular Day-Trips

In 1800, a disastrous fire hit the Rosenburg; afterwards, it was barely used for some 60 years. In 1860, Count Ernst Carl von Hoyos-Sprinzenstein senior re-built the castle under great personal sacrifice. Today, the castle looks much better than in the 19th century: A tavern feeds the hungry crowds and people in fancy historic costumes do performances in falconry with all sorts of birds of prey. There are theatre performances in the central courtyard, including an annual Shakespeare Festival.

Besides, the tournament grounds finally came to life in the 20th century: On the site that was essentially not used for "real", medieval tournaments, fake ones in historic costumes are now regularly held to the joy and delight of the Rosenburg visitors. It is the largest surviving tournament ground in Europe - at least that is what the Rosenburg′s administration says.

The popularity of the Rosenburg was increased even more when a collector′s coin was minted by the Austrian National Bank in 1999 - depicting the castle in all its touristy glory, including falcons and knights. What else could one ask for?

Rosenburg from Inside & Nearby Things to See

Interiors, of course. And there are great ones in the Rosenburg, as visitors can easily find out themselves by attending one of the guided tours. They include a rather peculiar collection of fossils and historic objects that was gathered in the 19th century by an eccentric nobleman.

Attractions nearby include the monastery of Altenburg, one bitch of a Baroque masterpiece. The medieval town of Horn is well worth a visit, and so do Gars and Eggenburg. To the south, you will quickly get to Krems and the Wachau River Valley, one of the most beautiful areas of Austria. Going north, you can get to Retz, Geras (another monastery there) Hardegg and Drosendorf.

Back to: "Lower Austria Sightseeing Guide"

Sightseeing by Austrian Province

Bregenz and Vorarlberg - Innsbruck and Tyrol - Salzburg - Salzkammergut - Graz and Styria - Klagenfurt and Carinthia - Wachau and Lower Austria - Vienna - Burgenland

Further Reading

Official Website of the Rosenburg Castle

Official Website of Lower Austria