Rust, Austria

The free town of Rust is located in Northern Burgenland in the Neusiedler See region. It is known as a wine-growing region and the "city of storks". Rust was granted town charter as early as 1681, which makes it the smallest administrative district in Austria. The old town of Rust was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001 together with the Neusiedler See region.



Old town: The entire picturesque old town area of Rust is now a listed building. The numerous town houses from the 16th to 19th centuries have well-kept Renaissance, Baroque or historicist facades with beautiful window and portal frames, oriels, coat of arms and stucco decorations. Characteristic arched portals and entrance vaults lead to the idyllic inner courtyards or to the even older courtyard wings with covered staircases and arcades, some with remains of the city wall. The historic city center is protected by the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Blue and white panels mark the individual objects. However, Rust is – along with Salzburg and Krems – one of the three model cities in Austria that were honored in 1975, the year of European architectural heritage, because the old town is lively and not revitalized. In 2001, the old town of Rust was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites together with the Neusiedler See region. Rust has been named the most beautiful town in Burgenland a number of times for its monument preservation and cultural efforts. The houses still have their original function as living and business premises for the citizens.
Fischerkirche: the oldest and art-historically most important building in the city. Remarkable are the frescoes from the 12th century, which were rediscovered in the 19th century but only uncovered and restored in several sections in the 20th century. The small church is now a museum and is used for cultural purposes. Because of its special acoustics, concerts are held in this special church room every year during the summer months.
Catholic parish church in Rust am See
Evangelical parish church in Rust am See
City Museum in the Kremayr House
Powder Tower: north-east corner tower with parts of the 16th-century curtain wall
Kunsthaus Rust
Wine Academy: Since 1989, the first German-speaking wine academy in the world has been based in Seehof, which dates back to the 17th century


Regular events

Since 1999, Rust has been the scene of the International Guitar Festival Rust, which has developed into one of the most important guitar festivals in Europe and is dedicated to the British composer John W. Duarte (1919-2004). It was founded by Venezuelan guitarist Gabriel Guillén, who shares artistic direction with Jovan Pesec. Numerous recognized guitarists from Austria and abroad give master classes and concerts. There is also an international guitar competition as well as instrument and sheet music exhibitions.



Lido with boat rental, surf courses, etc.
Cycling, the route around Lake Neusiedl leads through the village
The city has an observation tower to the south on the shores of Lake Neusiedl, especially for the storks that reside in the vicinity.
Family park leisure park with numerous attractions (roller coaster etc.) in the neighboring town of St. Margarethen.



In pre-Christian times, the area was part of the Celtic Kingdom of Noricum and belonged to the area around the Celtic hill settlement Burg on the Schwarzenbacher Burgberg.

Later, under the Romans, today's Rust was in the province of Pannonia.

Rust is first mentioned in a document in 1317 as Ceel (Hungarian szil, elm, rüster ‘) in a deed of gift from the Hungarian King Charles Robert I of Anjou-Naples for his follower Desiderius Hedevary as possessio Ceel vocatum circa stagnum Ferthew. The German place name Rust corresponds to the Hungarian place name Szil. The current Hungarian place name Ruszt was later taken from the German Rust.

Around 1470, Rust was granted market rights and since 1524 the Rusters have had the right, as evidenced by Queen Maria of Hungary, to burn a crowned "R" into their barrels as a trademark. This "R" is still used today as a quality mark in the cork brandy of bottled wines. From the 1520s, Rust came under Protestant influence from the nearby Ödenburg, where a Franciscan preached Lutheran in 1522. Towards the end of the 16th century, Rust confessed almost completely to the Protestant faith and experienced a political-economic as well as a spiritual-religious awakening. Belonging to the Hungarian Altenburg manor, the evangelical community faced counter-Reformation forces. Nevertheless, in 1647 the state parliament allowed the construction of a Protestant church (today's Roman Catholic parish church), a rectory and a Protestant school. The congregation experienced a heyday among Protestant pastors and teachers until, from 1674, the partly violent Counter-Reformation resulted in a century without its own church and preacher. House fathers ensured the passing on of the Evangelical faith with house devotions and Bible reading, while at the same time the service of the Catholic pastor was used for the casualia.

The city was first fortified with walls and ditches in 1512, but Rust was destroyed in 1529 and 1532 during the Turkish War. In 1614 a circular wall was built as a second city fortification, which is still largely preserved today.

In 1649 Rust bought itself free from subordination to the rulership, and the city paid 60,000 gold guilders and 500 buckets of the best wine to the Habsburgs: almost 30,000 liters of Ruster Ausbruch of the Furmint variety. On December 3, 1681, Rust received the title of Royal Free City (Reichstag in Ödenburg) from King Leopold I - in exchange for an amount raised largely by the Protestant population, which the Protestant church initially did not bring back.

In 1918 there was the (unrealized) plan to build a standard-gauge railway from the station of the Raab-Oedenburg-Ebenfurter Railway in Sopron (Ödenburg) via Mörbisch am See to Rust.

Rust, which belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary until 1921 and then to the Republic of Austria, exercises its self-government through its own town charter. Since Rust was already a (Hungarian) free town before Burgenland was annexed to Austria, it was treated as a statutory town after 1921 and has since been the smallest administrative district in Austria.

Mentioned for the first time in 1931, the local branch of the National Socialist German Workers' Party was founded in 1932: In the referendum on the annexation of Austria in March 1938, 862 yes votes and 1 no vote were cast on a plaque for (allegedly) 100% yes -Votes are not mentioned. Three Jewish families were expropriated, partly expelled, partly murdered in camps. Roma and Romnija were discriminated against, taken to camps and murdered. Four people with disabilities were murdered as part of the National Socialist euthanasia program. In the Second World War there were 113 killed or missing. The Red Army ended the National Socialist tyranny on April 2, 1945. After the war, officials of the NSDAP and the police were sentenced to prison terms in denazification trials.

In 2019, Rust was awarded the honorary title of “Reformation City of Europe” by the Community of Evangelical Churches in Europe.


Getting there

By plane
The closest airports are the international airport Vienna-Schwechat and the airport Milana Rastislava Štefánika in Bratislava, both of which can be reached in one hour (depending on traffic conditions).

With public transport
Rust is approached by buses from Eisenstadt several times an hour. Eisenstadt itself can be reached by train (from Wulkaprodersdorf or Neusiedl connection from Vienna) or by regional buses from Vienna Central Station. The nearest train station is Schützen am Gebirge on the Wulkaprodersdorf-Neusiedl railway line. It is also advisable to travel by bike if you take your bike on the train from Sopron or Neusiedl.

By road
Coming from Vienna, the route takes you via the A2 and A3 to the Eisenstadt junction, where you change to the S31 ri. Eisenstadt. At the Eisenstadt-Mitte exit, change to the B51, which leads directly to Rust.

From Sopron take the 84 to the border and continue on the B16. At the Siegendorf roundabout, turn right ri. Saint Margareten exits. When you have reached this town, turn right again onto the B51.

The border crossing near Mörbisch south of Rust is only open to bicycles and pedestrians.



Rust is located on the western shore of Lake Neusiedl, near the Hungarian border.

congregational structure
Rust consists of a single cadastral community or locality of the same name.


Economy and Infrastructure


The city is connected to the state capital of Eisenstadt via the Ruster Straße (B52).

For a few decades, Rust was the terminus of a branch of the Pannonia Railway. However, Rust has not been connected to the rail network since 1953. The next train station of the Pannoniabahn is in Schützen am gebirge, from Rust there are buses to Eisenstadt and also directly to Vienna.

Three Austrian long-distance hiking trails run through the municipal area of Rust: the Northern Alpine Trail, the Central Alpine Trail and the Eastern Austrian Border Trail.



The vineyards in the municipality cover around 450 hectares, which belong to the Leithaberg wine-growing region and are famous for the Rust outbreak. Among the best-known wineries are Feiler-Artinger and Triebaumer.


Public facilities

The Burgenland State Police Headquarters in Eisenstadt acts as the security authority of the first instance for the city; Therefore, license plates with the distinguishing character E are assigned for Rust as for Eisenstadt. A police inspection has been set up in the city, which reports to the Eisenstadt city police command.

The town of Rust is located in the district of Eisenstadt.



In addition to a kindergarten, there is an elementary and middle school as well as an adult education center. The Austrian Wine Academy is also based in Rust.



Mayor of the Free City of Rust has been Gerold Stagl (SPÖ) since 2012. In the 2022 election, he won the runoff with 54.86 percent of the votes.

Mayor History:
1967-1970; 1972-2002 Heribert Artinger (ÖVP/List Artinger)
2002-2012 Harald Weiss (SPÖ)
since 2012 Gerold Stagl (SPÖ)


Members of the City Senate

Mayor Gerold Stagl (SPÖ)
Deputy Mayor Johann Reinprecht (SPÖ)
Deputy Mayor Georg Seiler (ÖVP)
City Councilor Viktoria Bachkönig-Reiner (SPÖ)
City Councilor Mario Horvath (FZR)
Municipal Director of the Free City of Rust is Mathias Szöke.


Coat of arms

Blazon: "The coat of arms of the free city shows a shield divided twice transversely. Its upper field is blue, the middle one is green, but the lower field is filled with a natural body of water. Natural reed leaves grow from the second dividing line in the middle field and further, reaching into the uppermost field, three natural reed heads fan out. On top of the shield surrounded by an ornamented gold border rests a gold, jeweled crown with five visible leaf prongs, between which four pearl prongs are attached.”



Sons and daughters of the township
Johannes Wohlmuth (1642–1724), organist and composer
David Ignatz Neumann (1894–1991), Austrian-Israeli poet, cutler and politician
Elza Brandeisz (1907–2018), Hungarian dancer and gymnastics teacher
Ludwig Schandl (1908-1969), winegrower and politician (FPÖ)
Erich Karassowitsch (1944-2021), winegrower and politician (FPÖ)
Johanna Auer (* 1950), politician (SPÖ)
Harald Weiss, politician (SPÖ) and former mayor of the city


Honorary citizen

The following personalities have been made honorary citizens by resolution of the municipal council:
Heribert Artinger, former mayor D
Christian Euler, community and district doctor
Emmerich Fennesz, Roman Catholic city priest
Emmerich Gold, elementary school director i. R
Rudolf Grohotolsky (1922–2013), Deputy Governor
Eugen Horvath, former General Director of BEWAG
Theodor Kery (1918–2010), former governor
Rudolf Kremayr (1905–1989), founder of the Kremayrhaus
Peter Rezar (born 1956), State Councilor
Paul Rittsteuer (* 1947), former state councillor
Fred Sinowatz (1929–2008), former Chancellor of the Republic of Austria
Georg Weissmann, President of the Austrian Chamber of Notaries



The Free City of Rust is the setting and original location of the TV series Der Winzerkönig and the TV film Ein Sommer im Burgenland starring Hannelore Elsner.