In the middle of the Tyrolean Alps, you find a fabulous castle taken straight out of a fairy tale. Enter Tratzberg castle, and step into the Renaissance.
Tratzberg Castle has overlooked the Inn Valley since the 13th century from its perfect hillside location, less than a kilometre from the river Inn. After Tyrol’s independency from the Duchy of Bavaria in the 12th century, the local noblemen needed strongholds to defend their newly acquired freedom. Thus, a fortress was constructed at a strategic location. The white washed castle walls firmly stand out from the lush green surrounding forest. Perched on the hillside, 100 metres above the Valley floor, the castle demanded respect when it was built. The blending exterior does not, however, match the magnificent interior of the palace.
Click on the images to enlarge >>
From castle to palace
It’s called Schloss in German means palace, which in this case is a more accurate description. Although we didn’t see any on our tour of the palace, I’m sure that there are some dark dungeons hidden away somewhere. We only saw the stately dwellings of the nobles. Notwithstanding, the darker side of mediaeval society, must rest for now. Because, you what you get see of Tratzberg is a great insight, however small, to the life of high society in Habsburg Austria. After all, Tratzberg Castle was Emperor Maximilian’s I hunting-lodge. As it often happened, the at that time fortress was destroyed by fire in the 1490’s. However, the former fortress was rebuilt and lavishly decorated into a palace.
Tour of the palace
The Schloss Tratzberg you see today originates from 1553, when the former fortress and hunting lodge was rebuilt into a grand palace – within the walls of a castle. Step inside the palace, and enter the Renaissance. Most of the interior, furniture and other items are from the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance. The great halls, such as the Hunting Hall and Habsburg Hall showcase the architectural grandeur that was necessary in those days to impress your peers. The furniture bedrooms, for example, display more practical and useful objects. The last stop on the guided tour takes you to the armoury, that has a vast collection of historical arms, body armour, and yes – torture instruments. Finally, when you have finished the tour stay behind and enjoy the splendid courtyard.
Tratzberg Castle is more than just a museum. The privately owned castle arranges an array of different events, such as weddings, wine recaptions or seminars. Furthermore, to make the experience for exiting for children, there are separate tours and the exhibitions have special made features for the kids.
Check out these links:
There are good parking facilities below the castle, next to the road. If you don’t feel like a steep walk of about 15 minutes up to the castle, you can pick up the Tratzberg Express (€ 1,50), that leaves just next to the restaurant Schlosswirt Tratzberg.
There is not much you can use a World War II air defence tower for. Nonetheless, in Vienna they have managed to make something sensible out of at least one of the six crude concrete towers that the German army left behind. “The house of the sea”, as it is called in English (Haus des […]
I arrived in Bad Waltersdorf a sunny and warm day in late June. Even though it was really too hot for a hike with 32 °C (90 °F), the local tourist office suggested a route which partly took me through small forests. And I did not regret taking up the tip, as the so-called Roman […]
If you are travelling on the A9 motorway from the south in the direction of Voralpenkreuz (A1) in the vincinity of Rottenmann, you cannot miss the castle at the top of the cliff. The red and white painted window shutters, defence walls and towers had fit well as a movie backdrop in a Hollywood movie. […]
The highest mountain of Lower Austria, Schneeberg (Snow Mountain), with its 2,076-metre (6.811 ft) high summit Klosterwappen, offers family friendly hiking and stunning views. Only about 80 kms (50 mi) from Vienna it’s a popular hiking destination for the Viennese, as well as for travellers. Hence, I boarded the yellow and green salamander train and headed up to Schneeberg. Arriving […]