Schloss Hohenwerfen

Burgstraße, 2 - 5450 Werfen, - Sankt Johann im Pongau   see map - Contact
Hohenwerfen Fortress is a castle in Werfen, in the mountains 40 km south of Salzburg, Austria. The fortress is surrounded by the Berchtesgaden Alps and the Tennen mountains; and is the "sister" of the Hohensalzburg dominating the city of Salzburg and both date back to the 11th century. Currently the castle is a museum open to the public and among its most important attractions are the rich armory, the falconry school with his daily demonstrations and the typical medieval fortress tavern.

Schloss Hohenwerfen History

The fortress was built between 1075 and 1078 during the period of the investiture struggle, by order of Gebhard von Helfenstein, prince-archbishop of Salzburg, as a strategic control point located on a natural promontory of 155 m above the Salzach valley .

Gebhard, ally of Pope Gregory VII and of the antiré Rudolph of Swabia, had three large castles within his own archbishopric, which was one of the most exposed from the military point of view to the invasions of King Henry IV: the fortress of Hohenwerfen, that of Hohensalzburg and Petersberg Castle, in Friesach, in the Duchy of Carinthia. Despite his resistance, Gebhard was expelled from his domains in 1077 and could only return to Salzburg in 1086 to die in Hohenwerfen two years later.

In later centuries Hohenwerfen continued to play a defense role for the city of Salzburg as a military base and was also used as a hunting lodge for the prince-archbishops. The castle was therefore extended from the 12th century and again in the 16th century during the Peasant War, when it was exploited to fight the hordes of farmers and miners who from the south moved towards the city between 1525 and 1526.

Alternatively, it was also used as a state prison and gained a sinister reputation with inhuman conditions reserved for prisoners, although this was the quintessential prison where many nobles and prominent figures were imprisoned such as the Archbishop of Salzburg Adalbert III of Bohemia ( 1198), Count Albert von Friesach, the Governor of Styria Siegmund von Dietrichstein and Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau.

In 1931 the fortress, which was owned by the Archduke Eugene of Habsburg-Teschen, was heavily damaged by a fire and largely restored and then sold to the Reichsgau in Salzburg in 1938. It was thought to make it a maximum security prison for officers allies but then he preferred the castle of Colditz. After the Second World War, the fortress was used as a training ground for the Austrian federal police (rural police) until 1987.

Currently the castle is a museum open to the public and among its most important attractions are the rich armory, the falconry school which offers daily demonstrations and the typical medieval fortress tavern, unique of its kind.

Schloss Hohenwerfen

Time period
  • Middle Ages
  • Austria, Sankt Johann im Pongau
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Schloss Hohenwerfen
  Burgstraße, 2 - 5450 Werfen,

Schloss Hohenwerfen
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Museum / Monument Museum / Monument

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