Well-preserved Burg Strechau in Styria gives you a glimpse into the life at the medieval castle and also offers a perfect break if you are on your way through Austria on the A9.
If you are travelling on the A9 motorway from the south in the direction of Voralpenkreuz (A1) in the vicinity of Rottenmann, you cannot miss the castle at the top of the cliff. The red and white painted window shutters, defence walls and towers fit well as a movie backdrop in a Hollywood movie. The castle Major has not seen acts of war, except during the Napoleonic wars when Strechau was occupied 3 times by the French and temporarily used as a field hospital.
A peak into life during the Renaissance
The elongated castle, which clings to a narrow and steep cliff, is the second largest in the state of Styria. First mentioned in the 12th century and converted into a Renaissance palace in the 16th century, Burg Strechau is an impressive sight. Until 1629 the castle changed owners countless times, with different noble families coming and going. The castle or rather a palace was inhabited until 1848. Today Burg Strechau is open for visitors and you can see part of the castle’s interior, including furnished rooms, lavish banquet decorated halls, chapels, and bastions, on an hour-long tour.
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Countless owners, from noble families to the Archbishop of Salzburg, to the private foundation Boesch which is the current owner, have managed to maintain the castle and prevented it from becoming a ruin. The medieval castle was given multiple revitalizations in the period from 1629 until 1892 when it belonged to the monastery Stift Admont (which is only 30 km away). Among other things the castle church was built, the Italian-style archways in the courtyard, and many of the roof paintings (frescos) were added. The well-preserved former fortress offers a glimpse into the Renaissance, displaying wonderfully decorated rooms and historic furniture.
As we entered the castle’s main building, the first thing that met us was the Italian-inspired archways in the courtyard. Furthermore, one of the sights during the tour was the imperial room, which is furnished. The baroque door to the imperial room dates from 1637. More impressive are perhaps the ceiling paintings in the banquet hall and the Protestant “prayer room”, which dates from the Reformation era. Moreover, the beautifully decorated castle chapel (Marienkapelle) has an altar from 1637 that you can admire during the tour. Last but not least, you have access to the bastion at the south end of the castle, which offers a stunning view of the surrounding valley (and the motorway).
Austrian car history
Burg Strechau also houses a car museum. For cars, and especially veteran car interests, this exhibition is something you should not miss. The exhibition shows a complete cross-section of the Steyr works car production from the period 1920 – 1941. All the cars on display are in mint condition, and many are even still used on special occasions.
Burg Strechau also holds art exhibitions from time to time. Check their website for more info.
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