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Hohenwerfen Castle is located 40 km (25 miles) South of
Salzburg. It is a magnificent medieval citadel that stands on top of 155
meter hilltop. Its splendid medieval structures offer a great view of
the valley of the river Salzach below.
This medieval citadel of Hohenwerfen is situated between majestic Tennengau and Hagen ridges.
It was build in
the 11th century in a series of fortifications to defend the
city of Salzburg. It was a key
fortress in a defense of Lueg pass that could be used by invading
armies on their way to the region's capital. Over a course of five
centuries its defenses were strengthened. Towers and new curtail
walls were added. Due to its strategic location and well defended
position it became residential and hunting retreat. However the Hohenwerfen also has more sinister side to it. Almost from the very beginning it
became a prison for political and criminal prisoners. That included the
Archbishop Albert III (1198), Count (Graf) Albert bon Friesach (1253),
the Styrian governor Siegmund (1525) and Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von
Raitenau (1611). Housed under inhumane conditions many prisoners died
here or went mad. Their ghosts reportedly still haunt Hohenwerfen
In the 17th century Hohenwerfen Castle went into a
decline and in the 19th century first attempts by the Austrian
government were taken to preserve medieval castle. Unfortunately it
didn't prevent a great fire in 1931 that destroyed much of the castle's
interior. Only in 1987 authorities started a massive reconstruction
project. Today Hohenwerfen Castle is open to the public. It houses
several museums dedicated to citadel's history and various aspects of
Austrian life in the region. Hohenwerfen Fortress offers an extensive
collection of military weapons, torture devices as well as falconry museum.
still in existence today and demonstrated this old and rare art of
falconry. The tavern serves its customers on the grounds of the castle.
Besides many concerts, theater performances, recreation from different
time periods of the Hohenwerfen Castle are held here.