Burg Kreuzenstein

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Burg Kreuzenstein
Lower Austria, Austria
Burg Kreuzenstein - Panorama Burghof.JPG
Type Castle
Site information
View from the south

Burg Kreuzenstein is a castle near Leobendorf in Lower Austria, Austria. Burg Kreuzenstein is situated at an altitude of 265 meters.[1] It was constructed on the remains of an early medieval castle that had fallen into disrepair and was then demolished during the Thirty Years' War. Intended to be a family vault for the Wilczek family, it was rebuilt in the 19th century by Count Nepomuk Wilczek with money from the family's large Silesian coal mines. Kreuzenstein is interesting in that it was constructed out of sections of medieval structures purchased by the family from all over Europe to form an authentic-looking castle. Thus, the castle can be considered both a 'neo-' and 'original' medieval structure. The castle is sometimes used as a location for films.

This castle is sometimes confused with the medieval castle Burg Liechtenstein, where the movie The Three Musketeers was filmed in 1993.


View from the west

The castle is located just north of Vienna and the Danube on a rising above Rohrwald, directly above Leobendorf and between the towns of Korneuburg and Stockerau. The altitude is 266 m AA, the height above the Danube about100 metres (330 ft).[2]

Burg Kreuzenstein is close to a water gap in the Danube called Wiener Pforte ("Viennese Portal"), so that it allows a wide view of the current course of the river and the Korneuburger Becken ("Korneuburger sedimentary basin") upstream . Approximately opposite, on the south bank of the Danube, lies the castle Burg Greifenstein.


Outer facade with main gate

The medieval castle of the Habsburgs[edit]

The origins of Burg Kreuzenstein, like most castles in Lower Austria, date back to the 12th century. Originally built by the Counts of Formbach (now Vornbach, Bavaria),[3] the castle passed into the possession of the Counts of Wasserburg through marriage. Through Ottokar II of Bohemia, the castle came into the possession of the Habsburgs, in 1278.

In July 1527, the Anabaptist preacher Balthasar Hubmaier was arrested under the pretext of causing riots in Mikulov, Moravia and transferred to Burg Kreuzenstein. He was interrogated there but refused to renounce his beliefs and was burned at the stake in Vienna.

Until the Thirty Years War, the castle had never been conquered but then it fell into the hands of the Swedish Field Marshall Lennart Torstensson, who, on his departure in 1645, blew up three parts of the building (some sources say four).

The reconstruction under the Counts of Wilczek[edit]

Interior of Burg Kreuzenstein by Austrian artist Franz Poledne (1873 - 1932)

In the 18th century, the castle came into the possession of the Counts of Wilczek who had amassed a large fortune through their coal mines in Silesia. In 1874, Count Johann Nepomuk Wilczek, best known as a polar explorer, began reconstruction of the castle but in a style entirely different from the original Romanesque-Gothic architecture. The existing ruins were incorporated into the new castle, in particular, parts of the outer wall, the east tower and parts of the chapel.[4] The practised eye can easily distinguish between the surviving medieval masonry and the 19th century additions.

The reconstruction was overseen by architect Carl Gangolf Kayser until his death in 1895, at which time it was taken over by Ritter Humbert Walcher of Molthein and the artist Egon Rheinberger.

A family vault was built under the castle and Johann Wilczek is interred there. As well as building the castle from the original masonry and on the original site, Wilczek gathered building components from all over Europe. Additionally, the castle was equipped with a large collection of medieval furnishings and historical artefacts, including one of the oldest surviving medieval catapults, purchased from Hohensalzburg Castle.[5]

The reconstruction work lasted for thirty years and Kaiser Wilhelm II was present at the reopening on June 6, 1906. A fire caused by a lightening strike in 1915, burned part of the archives and library wing.

Burg Kreuzenstein today[edit]

During the conflict between the German Wehrmacht and the Red Army in 1945, some rooms in the castle were badly damaged and many pieces of the collection were stolen. Several manuscripts from the collection are now in the Austrian National Library.

Today the castle is a much-loved tourist destination and museum in the surrounding countryside of Vienna. At one time, a classical concert known as the Burgserenade was held in the great hall of the castle, at the end of June each year. This has been discontinued. From time to time, a falconry show, known as Adlerwarte Kreuzenstein is held on the estate. The recently renovated Burgtaverne Kreuzenstein is a restaurant, furnished to provide the atmosphere of a medieval tavern.

In 2013, Kreuzenstein Castle becomes the titular home of the Lazarus Union Knighthood of Honour.[6][7]

The current owner of the castle and holder of the title is Hans-Christian Count Wilczek.[6][8]

The castle as film location[edit]

Several scenes from the film Kaiserjäger (1956) were filmed here by Austrian director Willi Forst.[9]

The German horror film Im Schloß der blutigen Begierde was filmed there by Adrian Hoven in 1968.[10]

The 1971 film The Vampire Happening had portions shot at Burg Kreuzenstein. [11]

The 1972 Italian film Baron Blood (Italian: Gli orrori del castello di Norimberga) was shot there by Mario Bava.[12]

The German film, Die Stoßburg (1974), was filmed there by Franz Marischka.[13]

Parts of the German film, Die Einsteiger, with Thomas Gottschalk und Mike Krüger, were filmed there in 1985.[14]

The Austrian film, The Headsman (2005) used the castle as a set.[15]

It was used in the 2010 television series, The Pillars of the Earth.[16]

In 2011, the castle was used in Season of the Witch with Nicolas Cage.[17]

The 2014 Show The Quest (2014 TV series) was filmed at Burg Kreuzenstein.[18]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°22′45″N 16°18′32″E / 48.3791666667°N 16.3088888889°E / 48.3791666667; 16.3088888889