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Burg Schlaining

© by Arnold Weisz

Burg Schlaining is very well preserved and dates from the beginning of the 12th century. The castle can be visited and today houses a centre for conflict resolution and a peace museum.

Installing a peace museum and peace institute in a castle is a bit of a contradiction – or maybe not. Notwithstanding, both the castle itself and the Peace Museum are worth a visit if you are in the region. The castle is only a small detour of 20 km away from the A2 motorway between Vienna and Graz.

Easily accessible

Castles are often located in inaccessible places, such as on heights and in difficult terrain. No wonder, since they must be defensible. Burg Schlaining, on the other hand, is located just outside the small town of Stadtschlaining. To reach the castle’s main gate you simply cross over the bridge, which connects the small town of Stadtschlaining with the castle. The lovely old bridge across the gorge is made of stone arches. You find parking spaces right by the bridge into the fortress.

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Explore on your own

You can visit the beautiful castle and the museum without a guide. Once you enter through the main gate and have paid the entrance fee, you can explore all the available rooms. A large courtyard is also a nice place for a small picnic with a lunch basket. Or simply get a bite to eat in the small restaurant at the main entrance. Although you can walk around as you wish, they have marked a route through the castle with red arrows on the floor. Among the most beautiful rooms is the Knights’ Hall with its old frescoes and the castle chapel with its delicate Baroque décor. For a great view of Stadtschlaining and the surrounding area head up the tower.

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Rich history

The castle was originally located on an important trade route between north and south and was known as Castrum Zloynuk, which eventually became Burg Schlaining. Until 1980 the castle was owned for centuries by Austrian-Hungarian nobles and during the 20th century under private ownership. The castle has belonged to the State of Burgenland since 1980. During the First World War, the castle was used to house Russian prisoners of war (officers). Between 1939 and 1945 the castle was used as a prisoner of war and labour camp. During 1945-1947 the castle served as a criminal prison for captured Nazis.

Stadtschlaining (Schlaining town)

Around the castle, the settlement which later was named Stadtschlaining (in Hungarian: Városszalónak) grew up. The town, which began with the construction of the walls and the three gates, was not exceptionally large but ambitious. Slowly merchants and craftsmen settled down in the town. In 1663 about 100 families were living in and around the town. Today Stadtschlaining has almost 2000 inhabitants and is located in the middle of Burgenland, Austria’s easternmost and newest state. This part of Austria belonged to Hungary until 1921. Many of the town’s historic buildings are well-preserved and a stroll around is well worth the time. Around the small square in the middle of the small town, you find a couple of restaurants and cafes. If you want to stay overnight, aim for Hotel Burg Schlaining just around the corner.

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Written by Arnold Weisz

Globetrotting multilingual communications specialist born in Vienna, Austria – with passion for scuba diving, golf and culinary delights! 15 years of experience as a scuba- and travel reporter for among others: X-Ray Dive Magazine and Dykking.