Finkenstein Castle (Burgruine Finkenstein)

Location: Finkenstein am Faaker See, Carinthia

Constructed: 12th century


Finkenstein Castle is a medieval stronghold situated on a strategic high ground near Finkenstein am Faaker See  near Faaker Lake. It was erected in 12th century.


Description of Finkenstein Castle

Finkenstein Castle or Burgruine ("castle ruins" in German) Finkenstein was first mentioned in a local deed in 1142 so by the 12th century it was constructed here. It was owned by the dukes of Carinthia and was attached to a lesser branch of the family of dukes who called themselves "von Finkenstein" after the name of their chief residence. In 1223 Finkenstein Castle became the center of conflict between Heinrich von Finkenstein and Bishop Heinrich von Bamberg, the owner of Federaun Castle over rights on bridge across river Gail. After the extinction of the Carinthian branch of Finkensteins at the early 14th century, the possession over Finkenstein Castle passed to the dukes of Carinthia, who transferred the fort to the Habsburg in 1335. In 1508 Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian handed the castle over to Siegmun von Dietrichstein. Although Finkenstein Castle remained officially in the hands of this family until 1861, its walls remained empty since the end of the 18th century.



The ruin lies on a south-facing cliff at the foot of the Karawanken mountains and above Lake Faak.



The castle was first mentioned in 1142. It was owned by the Dukes of Carinthia and was enfeoffed by the dukes' ministerials, who named themselves after Finkenstein Castle. (A connection to Finck von Finckenstein, who appeared much later in East Prussia, is unlikely.) In 1223 there was a dispute between Heinrich von Finkenstein and Bishop Heinrich von Bamberg, the owner of Federaun Castle, over the crossing of the Gail River. After the Carinthian Finkensteins died out at the beginning of the 14th century, ownership passed to the Dukes of Carinthia, who had been the Habsburgs since 1335. In 1508 Emperor Maximilian handed over the castle and the dominion to Siegmund von Dietrichstein. Now the dominion of the Dietrichsteiner family in Carinthia was further expanded from this castle. The castle remained in the possession of the Dietrichstein family until 1861. It has not been inhabited since the end of the 18th century.

building description
The oldest parts of the castle are Romanesque. In the second half of the 15th century, it was rebuilt in the late Gothic style. At the beginning of the 16th century, the four gates were built into the stronghold. The first east gate has masonry dating back to the 13th century, making it some of the oldest in the castle. The second eastern gate was probably provided with a portcullis. The third eastern portal, erected after 1508, shows a profiled keel arch with the Dietrichstein coat of arms at the apex. Next to the third gate is a small round tower from the 14th/15th century. Century with him upper floor preserved remains of a vault supported by semicircular wall services with a chapter ring. In the small kennel following the gate there are still remains of an older gate system.

The keep measuring 7 × 7 meters is no longer accessible from the inside. It is built in quarry stone masonry with corner blocks and probably dates from the 12th century. It is located in the southeast corner of the castle complex. According to Markus Pernhart's drawings, it was still significantly higher in 1860 than it is today. His high entry could therefore have been above today's rest of the band. A late Gothic stair tower is attached to it. In the south wing is the former castle chapel of Saint Bartholomew, which has remains of late Gothic, profiled vaulting in the apse with a 5/8 closure. The service consoles are just below today's floor level. The 15 meter long west wall of the Palas, preserved up to the height of the second floor, is structured as a decorative façade on the second floor by flat keel arch niches and wall templates with circular services, and it also has four profiled keel arch windows. In the middle between the four windows is the former entrance to the outside balcony, which is no longer preserved and is also decorated with a keel arch. Below the balcony entrance on the ground floor, where the event arena is today, a gate led to the large kennel, which may have served as an ornamental garden in times of peace.

Todays use
The owner of the castle was the concert organizer Gerhard Satran senior. The castle arena he built with 1150 seats was used for festival performances from the beginning of July to the beginning of September. There is also a restaurant in the castle, which was severely damaged by a fire in October 2008. This was renovated in 2009 and has since been in operation again in the summer months (April - October).

In 1986, the Burgarena served as the backdrop for the Falco concert in the film Geld oder Leber by and with Mike Krüger, produced by Lisa Film. After the death of Gerhard Satrans in May 2015, the owner family Satran announced in February 2020 that they wanted to sell the castle ruins. In July 2020 it was acquired by the "Tomas Group" of the Upper Austrian tourism investor Thomas Seitlinger. He continues to operate the castle as an event venue and excursion destination as well as the restaurant and began renovation work in March 2022. The construction of a panoramic lift is also planned for autumn 2022 to enable barrier-free access.