Kropfsberg Castle (Burg Kropfsberg)

Kropfsberg Castle (Burg Kropfsberg)

Location: Tyrol  Map


Kropfsberg Castle is a medieval fortress that sits on top of a strategic hill in the Inne Valley above the village of Saint Gertraudi in the Tyrol province of Austria.


Description of Kropfsberg Castle

Kropfsberg Castle was constructed in the early 12th century by the orders of Archbishop Konrad I of Salzburg. Originally it started as a central tower surrounded by the wall. The archbishops used the citadel as the seat of the Salzburg court and administration. Kropfsberg was first mentioned for the first time in 1286 in the official documents. Archbishop Eberhard II of Regensburg extended the defenses of the citadel further. Much of its current appearance date back to these renovations.



The Archbishops of Salzburg received large parts of the Zillertal. The first castle was built under Archbishop Konrad I of Salzburg in the first half of the 12th century at the entrance to the Zillertal. It was probably just a tower surrounded by walls. The castle was used by the archbishops as the seat of the Salzburg court and administration. Kropfsberg was first mentioned in a document in 1286.

Archbishop Eberhard II von Regensberg had the castle expanded. The castle owes its current appearance to these expansion measures. Above the old tower was the main castle, which contained two mighty keeps.

In the 15th century, Kropfsberg Castle was the venue for important negotiations. In 1412, a dispute between Tyrol and Bavaria was settled on the "Prince's Day". In 1416 there was a reconciliation between Duke Frederick IV and his brother Duke Ernst of Austria, which ensured Frederick continued possession of Tyrol.

In the course of time, Kropfsberg was expanded twice in the Romanesque style, but there was no major building activity in the Gothic period. Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach had the complex re-fortified around 1500. 40 years later the loopholes, 900 m long, 8 m high and 3 m thick ring wall and the semi-circular bastions were built.

In the following century Kropfsberg was one of the largest castles in Tyrol. It was protected by a double ring wall. With this expansion, the aim was to further illustrate the sovereign power and strength. The area extended to an area of ​​26,000 m², but it only had accommodation for 60 to 80 people.

In 1592 the court seat was moved from Kropfsberg to Zell am Ziller, which led to the decline of the castle complex. Because the castle was only inhabited by people and no longer maintained, the first buildings collapsed in 1673. During the "Bavarian hype" in 1703, the castle was involved in the fighting because Bavarian soldiers had established themselves there. However, the Tyrolean riflemen drove the intruders away again.

When Tyrol came to Bavaria in 1809, the castle complex shared the same fate as many others. The castle, which has now become a ruin, was auctioned off. In 1850 the gate tower was renovated to make it habitable again. In 1905 the material from the still-preserved ring wall was used to build the Inn.

In 1940 Sepp Auffinger from Meran bought the property. He had the gate tower renovated again. In the last year of the Second World War, the western palace wall collapsed due to bombardment in the vicinity. The castle ruins have been preserved and restored since 1985. Therefore, the remains of the cistern and the Gothic castle chapel are still preserved today. Today the castle is privately owned by Hanno Vogl-Fernheim.


Castle ruins

A prehistoric hilltop settlement with flat ramparts and small terraces was largely destroyed when the medieval castle was built over it. The castle with its three almost equally high towers is unique in Tyrol. All that remains of the first castle today is the free-standing tower, which was shifted to the west. The Romanesque stronghold, built around a hexagonal courtyard, dates from the second construction, of which only the two keeps remain. The middle tower only has light slits in the lower area. Archbishop Leonhard added the living quarters with their large windows and different brickwork. After the Second World War, the keep was converted into an observation tower. In addition, the ruins of the Rupertus chapel from the 16th century still exist. The 47 m deep cistern is located in the middle of the courtyard. The outer ring wall including the bastions is still partially preserved.