Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle or Burg Hochosterwitz is one of the most impressive and spectacular castles in Austria, constructed on a picturesque rock 160 m (525 ft) high.



Location: East of Sankt Veit an der Glan  Map

Tel (04213)2020

Open: Apr, Oct: 9am- 5pm

May- Sep: 8am- 6pm

Restaurant: +43 4213 2020 +43 664 124 7774



Description of Hochosterwitz Castle

Obviously due to its strategic location ancient people used the hill of Hochosterwitz Castle long before the current fortifications were added. First defensive settlement date back to the Roman times. Hochosterwitz Castle is mentioned in the deed of Francia who donated the fortifications and surrounding lands to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. Its name at the time was "Astarwiza" or "Ostroviza" clearly indicating Slavic origin of the name. It is translated roughly as "an island" apparently hinting on appearance of the mountain in the surrounding landscape. Hochosterwitz Castle was granted by the Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg to the Dukes of Carinthia from the House of Sponheim in the 11th century. The nobles distinguished themselves by support of the Catholic Church during Investiture Controversy which was a major conflict between religious and secular authorities on privilege of appointing important figures in Church such as abbots and bishops.



Europe saw dramatic expansion of the Turkish forces deep into Central Europe. The last remaining heir, Georg the Osterwitz, was captured during a battle and died or was killed in prison in 1476. Hochosterwitz Castle therefore passed into the hands of Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg, since previous owners owed the Empire a substantial debt.


Current structure was largely built in 16th century by Domenico dell'Allio. He made significant modification to the earlier medieval Hochosterwitz fortress. Currently Hochosterwitz is owned by Khevenhuller family. Parts of the castle are open to the public between Easter (usually late April) to mid October. Mechanic gondola can take you to the top in case you don't feel like climbing the steep hill. There is a restaurant on the grounds of the medieval stronghold that serves Carinthian cuisine.