In one of the most beautiful valleys of Carinthia rises a limestone rock of 150 meters, visible from the surrounding mountains and hills. The impressive panorama that the Hochosterwitz Castle offers to the visitor is impressively formed at the Saualpe, the mountains of Friesach and Gurktal, Magdalensberg and Ulrichsberg, the Alps of Gerlitzen and Villach, a part of the Karavanke, the plateau of the Duchy of St. Veit and the numerous adjacent castles and ruins. A restaurant where you can taste Carinthian specialties, an intense cultural program of events, concerts and events as well as an interesting museum complete the accommodation offer
Burg Hochosterwitz History
Burg Hochosterwitz stands out on a mountainous cone, which is particularly suitable for a large and solid castle complex, isolated from a weakly undulating plain. A winding road with a moderate slope and barred by 14 gates surrounds it; passes deep ravines, leans against cleverly sculpted rocky walls and widens into squares of arms until it reaches the core of the castle, which crowns the summit.
its age, we find in the Castle of Hochosterwitz both a medieval fortress and a more modern one. The presence of a square tower called "Bergfried" (keep), which originally dominated independently the access to the court of the castle, and of various walls with battlements and loopholes is characteristic of the fifteenth and fifteenth centuries, when the main weapon was still the crossbow .
In a single document (State Archive, Vienna) of 3 March 1388 mention is made of the original form of the building. This document consists of an act in which the owner Giorgio acknowledges having reached a settlement with his cousin Nicola because of a dispute concerning the tower and the house of Osterwitz. Another document, dated 1321, reports the testimony of the chaplain of Osterwitz in which the existence of a chapel is certified.
The ancient castle of the owners could only be a small complex: a square tower, with an annex, and the chapel. The two entrances were protected by special doors and side walls. The real defensive capacity, however, was constituted by the particular isolated form of the mountain cone, so that the building built on its top became impregnable.
The frequent invasions of the Turkish legions and the improvement of firearms were certainly the motives that in the sixteenth century pushed to expand and reorganize the castle through the contribution of the reigning prince and enormous private vehicles. After these important works the castle deserved the name "Haupt Vestung" (main fortress).
In addition to the construction in addition of the wing of the balcony (around 1673), in the sixteenth century the castle went through three important phases of construction: under the direction of Archbishop Matteo Lang on behalf of the emperor, later of Christopher Khevenhüller, and finally of his nephew Giorgio, Giorgio is considered the real architect of the castle. With remarkable own resources, it enlarges the fortifications 14 gates, walls, bulwarks, armories etc. in the way and we can still admire them today. A marble plaque in the courtyard bears the will of Giorgio Khevenhüller which states that the castle must always remain in the possession of the family, a duty that has been scrupulously respected up to the present day.
The name of the castle designer is unknown; we know instead that the creator of the fortification of Klagenfurt was Domenico of the Garlic of Lugano († 1563), to whom this work earned such fame as to be called, in 1544, in Vienna and Graz as a fortification designer. Therefore it is possible that Christopher Khevenhüller, as head of the regional government, had consulted him for the construction of the ramparts of Hochosterwitz.
The armor room, the armory and the interesting collection of Renaissance paintings testify to the historical richness of this particular military fortification. Visitors have the opportunity to climb comfortably with the funicular, or they can go up the hill with gates. In the restaurant, guests are spoiled with typical Carinthian cuisine. An intense cultural program with concerts, painting exhibitions and parties - allow visitors to discover the castle in its various aspects. In addition to the interesting museum and culinary experiences, in the castle you can observe the world of medieval craftsmanship.
The perfect setting for a variety of events, such as knight parties, family reunions, exhibitions, folk festivals, children's parties and concerts.