Schloss Ort (Schloss Orth)

Location: Gmunden, Upper Austria  Map

Constructed: 909



Schloss Ort or Ort Castle

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.



Schloss Ort – meaning the lake castle – was first mentioned in a document in 909 and later in 1053. The castle was originally a moated castle, but was rebuilt in its present form after the fire in 1626. The Seeschloss is an irregular complex around a triangular courtyard with two-sided, double-storey arcades and a late Gothic external staircase.

The first rulers of the “Veste Ort” were the lords of Ort, Styrian ministerials. The first of these was Hartnid/Hartneid von Ort, a great-grandson of the Bavarian Count Palatine Aribo II. The Orter ruled from the 10th century until 1244, when the last of the knights was imprisoned. The Seeschloss (the Landschloss was only built in 1634) changed liege lords again and again in the following time, until it was handed over to the Habsburg Emperor Friedrich III in 1483. fell, who issued it as a (very popular) fiefdom. At the end of the 16th century the castle was bought by the town of Gmunden, which had become very rich through the salt trade. However, it had to be sold back to the Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II in 1603 because of the high maintenance costs.

17th century
In 1620, Upper Austria (the then "Land ob der Enns") was pledged to Bavaria. The Bavarian duke appointed Adam Graf von Herberstorff as governor of Upper Austria in Linz. Count Herberstorff, who shortly before had married the widow of Field Marshal Veit zu Pappenheim, Maria Salome Freiin von Preysing-Headsburg, received the former lake castle of the Lords of Scherffenberg. He also got the rule of Tollet in the Hausruck district, which had been taken away from the Protestant Jörger von Tollet family, and made it his residence and government headquarters. The new owner of the castle was a very cruel ruler who collected very high taxes and tithes. When the farmers tried to rebel against him for the first time, he invited all the leaders for "peaceful talks" on May 15, 1625 to the Haushammerfeld near Frankenburg. After all the peasants had arrived, Count Herberstorff had 36 suspected ringleaders surrounded by his soldiers and a one-on-one dice throw for their lives. This historic event went down in Austrian history as the Frankenburg Dice Games.

Count Herberstorff had hoped to frighten the peasants with these dice games, but they were not intimidated and in 1626 the Upper Austrian peasant wars broke out. A total of 5,000 farmers were able to entrench themselves on the Gmundener Hochkogel and win the first battle against a Bavarian-Austrian army. Highly emboldened by their victory, they attacked and burned various noble houses in Gmunden. The farms and stables on the site of today's country palace were also burned down. The following day the castle was attacked, looted and mostly burned down. Only sudden rains prevented the fire from spreading further. A month later, on November 15, 1626, the farmers near Pinsdorf were crushed.

After the death of Count Herberstorff on September 11, 1629, the castle passed into the possession of his wife Maria Salome, who sold it in 1634 to her son-in-law Johann Warmund - from 1645 Imperial Count of Preysing (* 1573, † 1648). In 1634 the lake palace was rebuilt in its present form. In 1637 the village was raised to a county.

18th and 19th centuries
After 1690 the castle once again belonged to the sovereigns of the House of Habsburg. They appointed a caretaker who managed both castles and the Ort area, but who reported directly to the Salzamtmann in Gmunden. Between the 15th century and 1848, the high jurisdiction for the area of ​​today's district of Gmunden (except for the land within the Gmundner city walls) was also located within the castle walls. Today three of the original four prison cells and the hunger tower can still be visited.


In 1867, Leopold II of Tuscany bought the lake palace and passed it on to his son, Archduke Johann Salvator of Austria-Tuscany. Within the next thirty years the entire Ort area was bought by the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, who established their seat of exile here. Archduke Johann turned his back on the nobility a short time later and resigned all his aristocratic titles. From then on he called himself Johann Orth after the castles and married his long-term partner, the actress Milli Stubel. In March 1890 he traveled to La Plata in his three-master St. Margaret. The next destination, which he headed for together with his wife in July 1890, was Valparaiso after circumnavigating Cape Horn. However, his ship never reached the port of destination and Johann Orth was reported missing. In 1911 he was declared dead and the castles reverted to the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph.

20th Century and Present
In 1915 the k.k. Forstarar owed the castle. After the First World War in 1918, the castles became the property of the Federal Forests. In 1988 the Seeschloss was put up for sale and in 1995 it was acquired by the municipality of Gmunden for 60 million schillings. It was then renovated for 70 million schillings. A forestry training center of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (FAST Ort) is currently housed in Landschloss Ort.

Between 1996 and 2004, the castle was the scene of the successful TV series Schlosshotel Orth (144 episodes of 45 minutes each), which caused some confusion among tourists, as the castle walls do not house a hotel but only a restaurant with a wine bar.

A special feature of the castle is the clockwork from 1634, which still has to be wound up by hand every day.

Today the castle houses the Orther Stub'n restaurant and the Orther Stub'n souvenir shop. In addition, events (concerts, readings) and up to 362 weddings a year often take place here.

The silted-up area of ​​Orter Bucht in the west of the Seeschloss is a nature reserve.


Country castle location

The Landschloss Ort is a square group of buildings that was created in the first half of the 17th century from the outwork of the Seeschloss. This had been burned down together with the Meierhof during the Peasant Wars and then rebuilt as a palace in 1626-1629. Under Archduke Johann Salvator, the interior of the palace was extensively remodeled. A military hospital was housed here during the First World War. From 1919 to 2018 it was used as a state forestry school and as a seminar and congress center.

The square courtyard is marked by four towers crowned with onion domes. On the outside there are wrought iron window baskets from the first half of the 17th century. The coats of arms of the former castle owners are displayed in the inner courtyard; there is also a rococo fountain with the year 1777. The ballroom has a painted wooden coffered ceiling from 1604-1612. On the wall you can see large paintings from the 1st International Hunting Exhibition (Vienna, 1910). The stucco frames of the doors and the chimneys also date from the time when the country palace was built.

The castle was used as a forestry training center until September 2018, which organizationally belongs to the Federal Research and Training Center for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape.

Sights in Seeschloss Ort
Romantic inner courtyard in the late Gothic style
Palas (interiors)
Coat of Arms Hall (interior)
Church (built 1634) dedicated to James the Elder
starvation tower
dungeon cells and museum