Sunday, May 24, 2015

Forchtenstein Castle


On the foothills of the Rosaliengerbirge mountain, northern part of Burgenland, Austria, looms Forchtenstein Castle, the only fortress in Austria that was never captured by the Turks during the Turkish War.
It is strategically located in the municipality of Forchtenstein and was originally built in 15th century by the former Lords of Mattersburg who eventually used the name of the castle as their noble courtesy title.

The succeeding Lord Forchtenstein died without a male heir, thus, the castle was possessed by the imperial family of Austria, the House of Habsburg. The Habsburgs leased it to Austrian noble families and centuries later, Emperor Ferdinand II awarded it to a Hungarian nobleman named, Nikolaus Esterhazy, during a time when Austria and Hungary were still a dual monarchy.

Count Esterhazy started refurbishing the castle and fortified with Kaiserstein stone adding bastion, treasure chamber, portals, cannon balls and fountains. His successor and son, Paul, further renovated the castle and extended with ornaments and several structures including a baroque equestrian statue. The treasure vault was built in a secret passage which was left undiscovered even during World War II. It became the repository of Esterhazy's art collection and precious positions. 

When Prince Paul died, the castle was no longer used as a residence but a vault of family treasures and weapons. The baroque murals in the courtyard had been whitewashed several times but were elaborately restored in the 20th century. Since 2004, the murals are beautifully conserved and added to the mystical splendor of the baroque castle.

Today, Forchtenstein Castle is still owned by the Esterhazy family and can be visited by the public on guided tour. Check the website of the castle here to read further details and information.


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