Not far from the village of Bad Ischl the ruins of the
Wildenstein castle or Burg Wildenstein are located overlooking the
valley. The site where the castle was built is distinguished by an
excellent position, allowing a view of the valley along the Traun
River, which gave the owners of the castle a strategic advantage
over possible opponents who wanted to conquer the area.
The first written mention of the fortress dates back to 1392, but it is believed that it was built at least 100 years before this event.
Since 1419, Wildenstein passed into the possession of the Habsburgs, and on August 28, 1593, a great fire broke out within its walls, the consequences of which, however, were eliminated. In 1725 the castle caught fire a second time and was completely destroyed. But only ruins remained in its place.
The authorities and public organizations in Bad Ischl are taking all possible measures to protect the ruins from further destruction. For example, with the help of donations, it was possible to restore a small part of the fortress.
Locals love to tell a legend, according to which, earlier, the ruins of Wildenstein housed an order of villainous knights who kidnapped the most beautiful girl who is still waiting for her savior. Any young man who is not afraid to fight a nine-headed dragon on a full moon can become such. And the reward for the feat will be an untold treasure hidden under the ruins.
The ruins of Wildenstein castle are located in the heart of the Salzkammergut on a ledge of Bad Ischl's local mountain Katrin. From this ideal location there is a wonderful wide view of the valley along the Traun, which, from a strategic point of view, was a decisive advantage. Wildenstein Castle was the second of the only two castles in the historic Salzkammergut, along with the small Pflindsberg Castle.
The first documentary mention of the fortress comes from 1392, but it is assumed that it was built in the 13th century at least.
Since 1419 Wildenstein was owned by the Habsburgs and the seat of princely (since 1452 imperial) caretakers. They ruled over the Ischlland, which roughly corresponded to today's judicial district of Bad Ischl and whose guardianship later became the core of the Salzkammergut as a separate administrative unit for the salt economy region (Salzkammer) in the Austrian state. On August 28, 1593, a devastating fire broke out in the castle.
Wildenstein castle burned down completely for the second time in 1715. After that year, the castle was not rebuilt and the structure has since been left to decay. The guardianship office was relocated to Reiterndorf near Ischl in 1717 and later to Markt Ischl (Auböckplatz 1); from 1770 the guardianship office was located in Goisern, in Neu-Wildenstein.
The Bad Ischler Heimatverein has been trying for several years to save the ruins of Wildenstein Castle from further deterioration. Donations made it possible to restore small parts of the castle. Since October 2009 the association (Ritterbund) Raubritter zue Wildensteyn has been trying to preserve the castle ruins.