Deutschlandsberg Castle


Location: Deutschlandsberg  Map

Constructed: 12th century


Description of Deutschlandsberg Castle

Deutschlandsberg Castle or a Deutschlandsberg Burg is situated in an Austrian province of Styria. It stands on a strategic mountain at an elevation of 398 meters (1,306 feet) above sea level.



The castle is 511 m above sea level. A. high rocky outcrop above the Laßnitz, which makes its way east through the so-called Klause, a wildly romantic valley. At the foot of the Burgberg extends Deutschlandsberg, whose symbol is the castle.

The castle is under monument protection. It is located on lots .2/1; .2/2; 233/7; 233/11; 243/9; 331 of the deposit number (EZ) 95 in the cadastral community (KG) 61005 Burgegg. Other plots of land on which (already thoroughly examined) places are located, such as plot 243/8 or no finds are to be expected (street plots) are outside the listed area, but are also given in the literature as the location of the castle. The area of the archaeological site of the Altburg (dance floor, dance square), which is also listed, is shown in the zoning plan.



Traces of settlement on a flat spot in the northeast of today's complex, the "Tanzplatz" (also called "Tanzkogel" or "Tanzboden" and not to be confused with the Altburg site of the same name in Hollenegg-Neuberg), prove a settlement from prehistoric times. A fortified settlement is suspected there as a wood-earth system. This facility is also known as the "Altburg Deutschlandsberg". Findings date from the Neolithic (Lasinja culture, about 3900-3300 BC) and later periods, such as e.g. B. Clay shards of Furchenstich ceramics of the type of the Retz-Gajary culture, widespread in Styria, from the early Copper Age ca. 2800–2400 BC. A settlement fortified with a wall system was built in the Hallstatt period. In the area of ​​today's parking lot and on the southern slope of the castle area, late La Tène period buildings are documented. In the south of the castle area are those archaeological sites which, through their find material, can be compared to a previous structure from the 10th/11th century. century. Previous research shows that there were not two castles in this area, but that both areas were used (at least in phases) in parallel. Further traces could be found from Roman times and subsequent centuries up to the early Middle Ages (7th century).

Around 970, Emperor Otto I gave the area of ​​today's Deutschlandsberg to the Archbishopric of Salzburg. In the first half of the 12th century, a building with a main stone tower was probably erected under Archbishop Konrad I and handed over to the ministerial family of the "Lonsbergers" (named after the place). 1153 a Fridericus de Lonsberch is documented as a burgrave. In the same year, a chapel dedicated to St. Laurentius was set up at Lonsperch Castle. There are indications that the first fortifications in this area on the other side of the Lassnitz valley still existed at that time and that two fortifications therefore existed in this area at the same time: Deutschlandsberg Castle and the Nidrinhof suspected to be near Frauental Castle in the area of ​​the St. Ulrich branch church Period of Bavarian colonization in the 10th century.

In the years 1185 and 1188 the castle was first mentioned as a castle (castrum) "Lonsperch". In 1292 the Landsberg League was concluded as the basis for the uprising of the Styrian nobility against Duke Albrecht I. After a fire in the western part of the castle in the 13th century, a new Gothic castle complex was built in the 14th century and the tower was restored. After an occupation by the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus from 1479 to 1490, the people of Salzburg got the castle back and refortified it. Under Hans Jacob von Kuenburg, construction of the castle chapel began in 1597 and was completed in 1607. This chapel was dedicated to St. Ruprecht, the patron saint of Salzburg.

In 1532 the complex withstood an attack by the Turks. As a result, numerous conversions and new buildings were carried out. The recession of Vienna in 1535 clarified the legal status of castle ownership to the extent that the area was to be treated as part of Styria (and not as an exclave of Salzburg). The Kuenburg family bought the castle in 1595, and the Archdiocese of Salzburg bought it back again in 1630. The castle then became the center of the Salzburg property in western Styria. In 1803 the complex became state property (Ärar), in 1811 it was bought by Count Moritz von Fries, and finally in 1820 it came into the hands of the Princely House of Liechtenstein.

Until the first half of the 19th century there was a knights' hall in the medieval part of the castle, on the ceiling of which the remains of a painting depicting a battle from the Thirty Years' War could be seen. In a prince's room there were still some portraits of Salzburg archbishops. A picture was kept in the palace chapel that commemorated the return of the palace captain Fröhlich von Fröhlichsberg, who set out in 1683 with 300 men to liberate Vienna from the second Turkish siege and returned safely.

On August 7, 1830, the round bell tower (later largely demolished) was set on fire by lightning, but the fire was contained with the active help of local residents and prevented it from spreading to the castle. In a letter dated August 21, 1830, the landlordship of Liechtenstein expressed its express thanks “to the honorable citizens of Deutsch-Landsberg” through Josef Egger, district commissioner and princely goods inspector.


In 1876 the round tower in the north of the complex was shortened, and in 1885/1890 the Romanesque tower with the remains of the first castle chapel was blown up. In 1932 the municipality of Deutschlandsberg acquired the castle. Until then, the complex had belonged to the entailed property of the Liechtenstein dominion. Around 1945 the castle had fallen into disrepair. During the time of Mayor Paul Dittrich (1946-1948), the complex was at least secured with building stone campaigns, castle festivals and volunteer helpers, piles of rubble were removed and the difference in height in the castle courtyard of 2.68 meters was compensated for by terraces and steps. The Romanesque tower was rebuilt in 2011/12 according to plans dating from around 1803, and the castle cistern, which was expanded around 1631, was made accessible again and explained in guided tours on Monument Day 2014. The cistern collected the water from the roof surfaces in an ingenious system where it was cleaned by several clarifiers and a sand filter.

The new tower has four floors, is covered with a tent-like roof and is used for museum purposes. The effort of €800,000 was largely financed by grants from the EU (regional fund ERDF) and the state of Styria. The Romanesque core castle at its feet is also being renovated, and the construction of its ring wall on the steep slope to the Laßnitzschlucht began in 2014.

In 2017, the tower was provided with a 15 m high, 60 degree steep roof made of titanium zinc sheeting, the appearance of which is based on the shape of the roof in the 19th century and whose lifespan was estimated at centuries. An amount of 270,000 euros was mentioned as a cost, which was made available by the state of Styria and 80 percent came from funds from the European Union.

The name of the castle does not go back to the German word for an area in the word part "Land-", but to a Slavic expression, which is also contained in the name Laßnitz and which occurs several times in southern Austria. It denotes a clearing site, wet meadow, a forest stream, etc. The syllable "Deutsch-" was only put in front of the name in the 19th century to distinguish what was then Landsberg from the place of the same name in Slovenia "Windisch-Landsberg": today's Podčetrtek was then also still in (lower) Styria.



A gate on the north-east side gives access to the castle. The oldest still visible parts of the complex are in the southwest. There is the tower house from the Gothic period, which characterizes the appearance of the complex.

Behind this building (to the south-west of it) the remains of the oldest building were discovered: a polygonal tower, which is dated to the beginning of the 12th century. This tower was protected by a moat, over which a castle chapel was built in the High Middle Ages. This was followed by a residential building (palas). The moat in front of the tower today is already the second moat. The designation "Landsberg und Thurn" is documented for the beginning of the 19th century. This is attributed to the fact that it consisted of two towers that were later connected by several residential buildings. Whether this can be interpreted as an indication that originally two separate settlements or fortifications were built at the current location of the castle cannot be proven.

The tower house corresponds to the type that is common in western Styria. It was built in the first half of the 14th century, as evidenced by Gothic pointed arches. To the north of the tower house are extensions from the Renaissance, dated 1604, which are connected to the old building by a connecting passage. This area is called Kienburg. In the south of this wing there is a converted "knight's hall wing", a stable wing to the northwest of it has been removed, but still appears on older depictions with its rows of windows. Today's entrance area is located in the outer bailey, which is even further north-east. There, too, the foundations of a building from the Middle Ages and finds were recovered, which - together with finds from the "Tanzplatz", the primeval settlement site nearby - indicated several buildings (with two tiled stoves).

The finds show that in the Middle Ages, Deutschlandsberg Castle extended from the oldest southern part to the area around the dance floor.

The site has been extensively studied through a series of archaeological excavations. The resulting publications make Deutschlandsberg Castle one of the best-documented castles in Styria. Finds are exhibited in the castle museum.

The castle is easily accessible by a road and several hiking trails from Deutschlandsberg. Deutschlandsberg train station is about two kilometers away.



From the 12th century to 1803, the castle was the administrative center for the possessions of the Archdiocese of Salzburg in western Styria. It was the center of a court district whose area of ​​responsibility stretched from the town of Deutschlandsberg to the border with Carinthia on the Koralpe: the regional court (Deutsch-)Landsberg. This special position was attributed to the immunity of the area since the 12th century (1178, uncertain) under the rule of the archbishopric of Salzburg.

Like a number of other fortifications in the area (e.g. Schwanberg, Spangstein, Wessenstein), Deutschlandsberg Castle was also located at the beginning of paths across the Koralpenzug from Styria to Carinthia: These were the road via Trahütten and the wine plain south of the castle and the Road over Freiland, Kloster and the Hebalm north of it.

On the mountain to the south, opposite Deutschlandsberg Castle, beyond the deeply incised valley of the Laßnitz, there is also an old settlement at the Kraxnerkogel. This place is about 750 m as the crow flies from Deutschlandsberg Castle on the road to Trahütten and the Weinebene, it was used until the Middle Ages. At her the site of a tower castle is assumed. Whether and what relationships the two places had to each other is not documented in the literature.

From 1958, the complex was expanded by the municipality of Deutschlandsberg into a museum ("Archeo Norico") and event rooms with a restaurant while retaining the building structure.


Castle Museum

In 1981 the castle museum (today "Archeo Norico") was opened. It contains the following permanent exhibitions:
Exhibition of Prehistory and Early History
a Celtic exhibition (myth of the Celts)
weapons exhibition
torture chamber
Antique gold, silver and bronze jewelry
From forest glass to the first industrial glass - 3000 years of Styrian glass

Changing special exhibitions complement the offer. The castle museum contains exhibits from the period from 5000 BC to 1600 m². to the 19th century. The museum focuses on the Bronze Age, the Urnfield culture and the La Tène period. The gold and bronze finds are counted among the most impressive metal finds of these times. Most of the historical finds come from the Steffan Brothers Foundation for Prehistory and Early History, through which family-owned exhibits are made accessible in cooperation with the Federal Monuments Office.

The museum exhibits a pencil drawing from 1662, the original of which was handed over to the museum at the opening of the castle exhibition in 2018 together with some of the furnishings of the former castle chapel (candlesticks, veil, canon tables, meditation book).

The 185 cm high bronze sculpture "Karyatid" created by the sculptress Hortensia (Hortensia Fussy) in 1979-1984 has adorned the entrance to the museum since 2009 and has become a popular photo motif there.

Established archaeological research has criticized the fact that the impressive inventory of metal finds presented in the museum was largely the result of decades of robbery digging and probing, or the purchase of objects with a dubious background. Accordingly, many pieces have no or only a vague indication of provenance and are therefore of little scientific value.