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Medieval adventures at Mauterndorf Castle

Burg Mauterndorf

© by Österreich Werbung, Photo: Trumler

Burg Mauterndorf is far more than a historic stone structure. This is an adventure castle where you can enter the Middle Ages and experience life at the castle as it was 500 years ago.

The castle in Mauterndorf is not to be overlooked as it is located on a mountain cliff at the edge of the village. There has been a fortification on the site since 326 A.D. guarding the Roman trade route crossing the Tauern mountain pass. However, the castle itself is first mentioned in written records from 1253. The castle and the village of Mauterndorf have got their name from the German word “maut” which means toll / fee.

Risky business

Precious items such as salt, wheat flour, grain, wine and spices were transported along the ancient Roman trade routes over the Tauern mountains for more than 1000 years, after they first emerged in Roman times. Nonetheless, it was not completely safe for those who transported the goods. Unforeseen weather changes, rough terrain and criminals made the trade across the Alps a risky enterprise. From 1002, all traders who used the route across the Tauern Pass and passed Mauterndorf Castle had to pay a fee or toll (maut). This was a common way of making an income for the local strongmen.

Summer residence

Mauterndorf Castle was used in the 16th century by Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach as a summer residence. The castle belonged to the Archdiocese of Salzburg and was also used as one of their administrative centres until 1806. The autonomous Archdiocese of Salzburg was associated with the Habsburg Austria but was not incorporated into the empire itself until 1803.

  • Mauterndorf, Salzburgerland, Historic small towns in Austria
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    The name of the village originates from the word “maut” which means toll. Since the Middle Ages the rules of the land have taxed the crossing of the alps at Mauterndorf. Photo: Arnold Weisz ©
  • Mauterndorf Castle, Salzburgerland, Austria
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    The blacksmith at work the castle. Photo: Arnold Weisz ©
  • Mauterndorf Castle, Salzburgerland, Austria
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    Many mouths to feed from the castle's kitchen. Photo: Arnold Weisz ©
  • Mauterndorf Castle, Salzburgerland, Austria
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    Toys and medieval fun for young and old on the adventure castle. Photo: Salzburger Burgen & Schlösser ©
  • Mauterndorf Castle, Salzburgerland, Austria
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    The Archbishop of Salzburg a long awaited bath. Photo: Salzburger Burgen & Schlösser ©
  • Mauterndorf Castle, Salzburgerland, Austria
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    Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach has invited visiting dignitaries for dinner. Photo: Arnold Weisz ©
  • Mauterndorf Castle, Salzburgerland, Austria
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    A tradesman is getting ready to leave the castle and travel on to the next market place. Photo: Arnold Weisz ©
  • Mauterndorf Castle, Salzburgerland, Austria
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    View from the castle tower of the picturesque village Mauterndorf. Foto: Arnold Weisz ©
  • Mauterndorf, Salzburgerland, Austria
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    Mauterndorf Castle towers and is a place for both learning about history and having fun. Photo: Arnold Weisz ©

Adventure castle

After nearly 200 years of decay, an extensive renovation of the Mauterndorf Castle was carried out in the early 1980s and consequently an adventure castle of unique character emerged. We recommend taking the tour in the castle. Join the guided tour to get good insight into life on the castle in the Middle Ages. If guided tours aren’t your thing, you also can do it on your own. Included in the entrance ticket is a so-called “audio guide” (available in several languages). It’s is easy to operate, and you can take the tour in your own pace. Normally it takes about an hour. One of the highlights of the tour through the castle is the 44-meter-tall keep. With six floors, the tower has been recreated and furnished with several rooms / floors as they would have appeared in the Middle Ages. I liked that the exhibits are not closed off by either glass or chain, making it possible to take a closer look. Moreover, it makes the whole experience better and it is easier to get an idea of how life was around 4-500 years ago.

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Dress up as a knight or a princess

The exhibitions at the Mauterndorf Castle are far more than artefacts behind glass. Using relatively lifelike manikins, you can observe different scenes from everyday life on the castle hundreds of years ago. Among other things, you will find the archbishop in his bathtub, the castle cook preparing food, the blacksmith swinging his hammer or a trader with his horse and carriage getting ready in the courtyard. There are various activities for children around the castle, and the whole family can borrow clothing from the medieval wardrobe and dress as anything from jokes, bishop, princesses to knight. Experience one of the last three existing toll stations along the famous Roman trade route “Via Imperialis”, Mauterndorf Castle – an experience the whole family can enjoy.

Medieval feast

You do not need to end your visit to the Middle Ages after the tour. The castle’s Burgschenke (restaurant) offers medieval meals with period dishes and of course all guests must be dressed up in medieval costumes. The restaurant host himself takes part and makes this an unforgettable experience. For those who simply want to enjoy good traditional food from the region or a coffee cup, this is offered either in the restaurant inside the castle or out on the sun terrace.

For more info se Mauterndorf Tourism
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Written by Arnold Weisz

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.