Riegersburg Castle seen from the valley below
|Town or city||8333 Riegersburg|
|Elevation||482 m (1,581 ft)|
|Construction started||prior to 1138|
|Owner||Princely Family of Liechtenstein|
Riegersburg Castle is a medieval castle situated on a dormant volcano above the town of Riegersburg in the Austrian state of Styria. The castle is owned by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein and contains a museum with changing exhibitions. Riegersburg Castle is situated at an height of 450 m.
The castle was built on a hill which had been a volcano a long time ago. The peak is at 482 meters above sea level. The basalt of the hill was used to build the castle.
In the area around Riegersburg people have been living for a few thousand years. A large village was found in the 9th century B.C. with 300 people living here. Later, from 15 B.C. until 476 A.D. the region was part of the Roman Empire. In the 3rd and 9th century Bavarians immigrated and Hungarians invaded from the East. It was the beginning of a long time of armed conflicts. The history of the castle begins in the year 1122. The first knight who is known to have lived here is Rudiger von Hohenberg. During the centuries the castle had a lot of different owners, but only few of them played an important role. Among the later ones is the family of the Walseer who had feud with the sovereign of Styria in 1415. The most important owner was the baroness Katharina Elisabeth von Wechsler, married Galler and known as Gallerin. Between 1637 and 1653 she finished the castle, making it one of the biggest and strongest castles in the country. It is surrounded by 2 miles of walls with 5 gates and 2 trenches and it contains 108 rooms. In the 17th century the border with the Ottoman Empire was sometimes only 20 to 25 km away from the castle and the area was troubled by conflicts with the Turks and Hungarians. The castle was a safe place for the people in the nearby, sometimes offering refuge inside its walls for a few thousands. Lady Gallerin married three times and had one daughter who married a Count Purgstall. The castle passed to the Purgstall family, who died out around 1800. In 1822 the castle was bought by Sovereign Johann Josef von Liechtenstein. It belongs to the von Liechtenstein family until the present day. The castle was taken by the 10th Guards Rifle Division of Soviet forces advancing towards Graz on 8 May 1945.
The castle is owned by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein, who live down the village in a house. The castle serves as a museum, with 25 out of the 108 rooms being opened for visiting. 16 of the rooms show the history of the Riegersburg castle and 9 are dealing with witches and sorcerers.
This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.
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