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Schloss Ort (Schloss Orth)
Schloss Ort is a medieval citadel that was
constructed on a small island in the Traunsee lake in Upper Austria
region of Austria. It is situated within boundaries of Gmunden
community about 19 km from Vocklabruck. Small Toscana Park on the
Western shores of the lake served as a splendid backdrop for this
beautiful and unusual castle.
It is hard to say when Schloss Ort or Ort Castle was
first found. A small fortifications existed on the island of the
Traunsee lake at the time of the Roman rule in the region. Fortress was taken and demolished by barbarian
hordes during their invasions. Its ruins were discovered by the
archeological digs in the 20th century.
Current medieval fortress dates back to 909. Schloss Ort was later
increased by Hartnidus of Ort. New technological innovations in the
art of killing forced its owners to increase its defenses. First
occurred in 1255 by Hartnidus V, in 1344 by the brothers Friedrich
and Reinprecht I of Wallsee. Friedrich of Wallsee became the solo
owner of Schloss Ort on January 25, 1350. His descendants owned the
fortress until 1483 when it passed to the Emperor Frederick III of
the Holy Roman Empire.
Schloss Ort changed its owners several times until it
was bought in 1876 by Archduke John Salvator of Austria also known
as John of Tuscany. However his noble title and blood connection to
the Habsburg imperial house prevented him from marrying his
morganatic wife and he chose love over his titles and possessions.
On October 6, 1889 he officially removed his title, changed his
official name to Johann Orth. He departed to South America in 1890
with his wife on his private ship Saint Margaret. Apparently the
ship disappeared and he was presumed dead although officially he was
declared dead only in 1911.
In 1914 Schloss Ort was acquired by an Austrian
Emperor Franz Joseph I. It was intended not as a private residence,
but as part of field trips for local school children. Unfortunately
these grandiose plans were cut short by the outbreak of World War I.
Today Schloss Ort is open to the public. It was
bought by Gmunden community in 1995 for 60 million shillings and
later renovated for another 70 shillings. It has a restaurant and
gift shop inside.