Location: Kufstein Map
Constructed: 1205 (known as Castrum Caofstein at the time)
Festung Kufstein Castle or simply Kufstein Castle is located in Tyrol province of Germany. Occasionally it is mistakenly called Geroldseck Fortress. At an elevation of 507 metres (1,663 feet) above sea level it dominates local landscape. Festung Kufstein Castle was constructed around 1205 on a strategic hill overlooking surrounding fields and a town of Kufstein below. In the official documents dating to the Medieval Period refer to the citadel as Castrum Caofstein. It was listed as a possession of the bishop of Regensburg. In 1415 its walls and towers were reinforced by Louis VII, Duke of Bavaria the Conqueror. In 1504 Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire besieged the city and Festung Kufstein and captured both. Maximilian constructed a massive round tower between 1518 and 1522. Its layout was intended to house a cannon battery. With a round layout it could fire in all directions at the approaching enemy.
The fortress was first mentioned in a document in 1205 as "Castrum
Caofstein". At that time it was owned by the bishops of Regensburg.
From 1415 Duke Ludwig the Beard strengthened the fortifications.
In the course of the Landshut War of Succession in 1504, the later Emperor Maximilian I besieged and conquered the city and fortress of Kufstein. He had the complex renovated and expanded into a fortress.
In 1703, Bavarian troops invaded Tyrol and also conquered Kufstein Fortress, but had to vacate it the following year after the Tyrolean peasants rose up against the Bavarian occupation. In the 18th century there was a fortress bridge in Kufstein. As a result of the Peace of Pressburg, the fortress came under Bavarian rule again in 1805, together with the whole of Tyrol, before it fell back to Austria in 1814.
During the Austrian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy, the fortress served as a prison for numerous Hungarian dissidents, including Ferenc Kazinczy (1799-1800), Gregor Czuczor (1850-1851) and Sándor Rózsa (1859-1865).
The fortress has been owned by the city of Kufstein since 1924, which has leased the fortress to "Top City Kufstein GmbH" since 1996. After criticism of the articles of association by the Austrian Court of Auditors, it was changed in 2019, and since then the company has been called "Festung Kufstein GmbH".
The fortress is a popular tourist destination in the Tyrolean Unterland. The fortress lift and the panorama railway were built in the 20th century, and since 2005 there has been a mobile roof for the Josefsburg so that this area can be used for events.
The former barracks of the castle house the Kufstein local history museum, in which, among other things, finds from the Bronze Age and Stone Age finds from the Tischofer cave are on display. From time to time works of art are exhibited in the Kaiserturm.
The organ pipes of the largest open-air organ in the world, the Heldenorgel, are located in the Bürgerturm, while the console is housed at the foot of the fortress. The approximately ten-minute organ play takes place daily at 12 noon (in July and August also at 6 p.m.) to commemorate the fallen of both world wars and can be heard throughout the city.
There is a long rock passage (casemate open to the public) and the "Tiefen Brunnen", a castle well about 60 m deep.
The Josefsburg is used for events, there is a fortress gastronomy with a special knight's meal. At Pentecost there is an annual knights' festival with concerts, knight fights and the re-enactment of Hans von Pienzenau's last battle.
List of some the prominent prisoners of Festung Kufstein
Ferenc Kazinczy- advocate of Hungarian language and literature, author of Language Reform, 1799- 1800
Countess Blanka Teleki, member of a noble family, socialite and educator, women's right activist, 1853- 56
Klara Leovey, teacher, manager of the Blanka Teleki School in Budapest, women's right activist
Sen. Miklos Wasselenyi, a Hungarian nobleman 1785- 89
Gyorgy Gaal, Protestant preacher 1850- 56
Gregor Czuczort, Hungarian Benedictine monk, a poet and a linguist, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1850- 51
Sandor Rozsa, Hungarian revolutionary, legendary Hungarian outlaw"Robin Hood" 1859- 65
Mate Haubner, Evangelical bishop