Location: Carinthia Map
Groppenstein Castle is a rock castle northwest of Obervellach, near the confluence of the Mallnitzbach and Möll streams, on a rock that slopes down on three sides above the village of Raufen. It is also the namesake of the nearby Groppenstein Gorge. Today the castle is privately owned by Robert Schöbel.
Groppenstein Castle was first mentioned in a document in 1254 as
"turris Cropensteine". At that time, Archbishop Philipp of
Salzburg enfeoffed his archer
Heinrich Swärhaupt with a number of properties near Groppenstein. A
ministerial of the Counts of Ortenburg by the name of Pabo de
Cropensteine witnessed this fiefdom.
However, the castle tower could have been built much earlier. The name can be derived from the Old High German personal name Groppo (ahd. groppo - green, cress).
At the end of the 13th or beginning of the 14th century, Groppenstein came into the possession of the Counts of Gorizia. In 1324 Friedrich von Groppenstein appears as court clerk to Count Albrecht von Gorizia-Tyrol.
For centuries Groppenstein was considered a tower castle, but it was already designated as a fortress in 1342. Konrad der Gröppler, whose son called Jörg von Groppenstein, was the carer this year. Veronika von Groppenstein was the last of her family to marry Wilhelm Graf von Schernperg.
The castle was expanded between 1470 and 1480 by Gorizia ministeriales into a late medieval fortification. During this time, Jakob Gröppel von Groppenstein also built today's Palas.
When Veronika died in 1486, the property passed to her three sons. 20 years later, Emperor Maximilian I enfeoffed Christoph Graf with the castle. Archbishop Matthäus Lang of Salzburg also entrusted him with the stewardship of Goldegg im Pongau.
Around 1588, Bartholomäus Khevenhüller and Friedrich von Hollenegg, who had married into the Count von Schernberg family, owned the castle complex. Groppenstein sold these to Adam Jakob von Lind in 1612.
From 1693 to 1870, the Barons of Sternbach were the owners of the castle. Two years later it was acquired by the Viennese architect Adolf Stipperger. He carried out a Romanesque overall restoration of the already heavily dilapidated castle, both inside and out. This gave Groppenstein its current appearance.
Groppenstein has always been inhabited throughout its history and is therefore very well preserved. Restoration work has been ongoing since 1968.
The castle has three floors and is essentially a 15th-century
structure. The mighty, five-storey, Romanesque keep from the time it was
built has survived. The 23 meter high tower is connected to the Gothic
Palas by a wooden bridge on the second floor. The restoration of the
palace in 1870 changed its appearance significantly. Modern chimneys
were attached, a battlemented gable and large windows were installed. A
coat of arms of the Counts of Schernperg from the middle of the 16th
century can be seen on the Palas.
The castle courtyard is surrounded by the keep, the palace and a crenellated curtain wall. The defensive wall was renewed in the 19th century, as was the three-story gate tower. The western neck moat can be crossed over a concrete bridge that replaced the drawbridge.
Late Gothic details have been preserved in the interior.