Schloss Wernberg is a Renaissance-era castle that stands on a rock above the Drauschleife east of Villach (Carinthia). Over the centuries it has had numerous owners, including Khevenhüller and the Abbey of Ossiach. Today it is a monastery of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood.
Schloss Wernberg History
The castle is a three-storey Renaissance building with three wings surrounding a courtyard with two-story arcades. Today the pergolas are partially walled up. To the south, the courtyard is enclosed by a breast wall. This is carried out by twelve arches resting on collars. Further supporting walls continue to fall. On the east side of the perimeter wall is a circular arch portal. This has a flat triangular pediment. In each of the four corners of the building there is a huge tower that protrudes over the main front. The church of the castle to the west joins the north-west tower.
The north portal, designated 1575, has a double frame of diamond cubes. The capstone is the coat of arms of Georg Khevenhüller, the builder of the castle. The Supraporte brings the reliefs to the breast of Georg Khevenhüller and his two wives, Anna and Sibylla. The figures are made entirely of plastic and are characterized by a rigid posture, the eyes emerge, the pupils are similar to holes. The clothing models and the hairstyle have a strong decorative feature. The two women's crests are represented in Torzwickeln. A coupled Renaissance window is located directly above the gate. The east portal dates back to the Baroque and is designated 1755. It is accessed via a double-barreled staircase. On the front wall of the staircase is attached a designated inscription panel from 1576. In the courtyard there is a fountain in the form of a fountain dating from around 1575. On the west wall of the courtyard are the frescoes on the doors which show the words of the Bible in cartridges and come from the seventeenth century.
A Werdenberch castle has been documented since 1227. This first castle was built under Duke Bernhard von Spanheim and was part of Bernhard's attempt to break the dominance of Bamberg (Villach) in southern trade. The castle later came to the Habsburgs, who engaged them to various keepers of the castle. Duke Frederick the Old ended up giving the citizens of Villach Kreutzer the castle and its assets. By inheritance, the castle came into possession of Khevenhüller in 1519. Georg von Khevenhüller, provincial governor of Carinthia, had Wernberg expanded to his summer palace.
Georg Khevenhüller showed in an image room of the entire provincial capital of Carinthia. They have not been preserved. In 1572 he had three large tapestries made for Wernberg. The carpet dedicated to his grandfather Augustin Khevenhüller is now at the Germanic National Museum in Nuremberg. The carpets dedicated to his father Siegmund and himself were for some time in the Hearst collection, but have been lost since 1943.
Around 1600 a castle garden was created in Wernberg, which is preserved only as an illustration in the Khevenhüller Chronicle. It is considered the most elaborate of the many gardens of the Khevenhüllerschen castle and was stylistically at the turning of the Baroque. It consisted of flower beds, framed by cut hedges, of pergolas with a wooden grid, with green pavilions, figures and fountains. Therefore it corresponded to the original scheme of Italy of a pleasure garden.
George Paul Khevenhüller's successor sold the castle and ruled Wernberg in 1630, when he had to emigrate during the Counter-Reformation as a Protestant. The buyer was Count Wagensperg. Since Paul Khevenhüller joined the Swedish services, the emperor confiscated his former assets, including Wernberg, but he entrusted the castle and property to the count Wagensperg. Later, the castle changed hands frequently.
In 1672, the abbot Christoph Caponig of the Abbey of Ossiach bought the castle and its estates and most of the Konvent Ossiacher moved to Wernberg. Under the abbot Edmund Ibelbacher several rooms were decorated with stuccoes and frescoes. The abbot Virgil Gleissenberger had the chapel built, which under Hermann Ludinger from 1737 to 1753 received his current design with stuccoes and frescoes. With the abolition of the Ostria 1783 Wernberg was put up for sale, the next 150 years were marked by a constant change of ownership.
Since 1935, the castle has been owned by the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood. The sisters run the estate belonging to the castle and manage a pension, a nursery school and an educational center.