Hohostervicz: the most impregnable castle in Austria
This castle is considered one of the most beautiful in Austria , and the most impregnable in Europe. The foot of the conquerors has never stepped into its courtyard, it is a masterpiece of the medieval art of building defensive structures. Inside there is a rich museum with a huge collection of medieval weapons and armor, which makes the excursion here even more attractive. But, about everything in order.
When we talked about the inaccessibility of the castle, we were a little cunning. The castle was founded in the 9th century and, of course, was not such as you can see it now. It was a fairly simple wooden fortification.
Its present appearance and inaccessibility castle found in 1571, when it was bought by Baron George Khevenhuller (George Khevenhüller). It was he who built 14 gates, food stores and arsenal. This was a difficult time in the history of Austria , when the Austrians were the main obstacle on the way of the Turks to Europe.
It was the efforts of the Baron that the castle acquired its inaccessibility. It stands on a cliff 160 meters high, only one way leads upwards, which is blocked by a defense of 14 gates, installed on the way, each gate has its own defense system and its surprises for the attackers. According to the official chronicles, the record of the assault is at the mark of the 4 gates (if counted from below).
The castle has its own well with groundwater (pictured below), which, together with huge food stores, enabled defenders to keep under siege for several years.
There is one interesting legend about the castle, which dates back to the times when it was not so well protected, it was in the 14th century. The Hochosterwitz castle was besieged by the Poles. The defenders of the castle deceived the besiegers, they slaughtered the last bull, stuffed it with fir and threw it down, showing that they had so much food that they could use it as shells. The Poles realized that they would have to lay siege to the castle indefinitely, and retreated.
On the remaining legends we will talk further in the course of our story.
The castle is one of the most popular attractions in Carinthia , and only Minimundus Park can compete with it .
Already approaching the fortress, you will have the opportunity to see an important historical landmark. This stone throne, which crowned the rulers of Carinthia. The rulers on this throne were the masters of the region even before the rule of the Habsburgs.
Residents of the region are proud that once Carinthia was an independent state (from 1335 until now, the region is part of Austria). The Grand Principality of Carinthia was a fairly large power with its capital in Klagenfurt and included the neighboring lands of Styria and Slovenia.
You should pay attention to the security measures of this relic. The throne is surrounded by a metal fence, and armored glass. This photo (left) was made in 2013, and the glass was already installed here. On the earlier photos, which can be found on the Internet it was not yet. We do not know what kind of case pushed the authorities of Carinthia to its installation, but we hope that nothing bad has happened.
After the inspection, the throne of tourists is brought to the castle itself. You remember that he is on a rock with a height of 160 meters, and climbing there is not very convenient. Therefore, to climb up there is a special little funicular.
On the rail can only go one cubicle, placed in it about six people. You are lucky if a large excursion group does not come to the Hochostervice Castle right before you, otherwise you will have to wait a long time for your turn.
Of course, no one prevents you from going up there yourself, since the gate is open, and nobody will shoot you from crossbows, but it's quite tiring.
Hohostervitz Castle is still a private property. The same Baron Georg Khevenhuller, who built the castle's defensive system in the 16th century, bequeathed to his descendants never to sell the castle, no matter what happens. And they follow his precepts, and still own the castle. Of course, they do not live in the castle, their estate is nearby. But they agreed to create a museum in the castle.
Inside, you will be surprised that the castle is much larger than it might seem at first glance. When we looked at it from below, it seemed to us that it was just a small "heel" on the rock, it seemed that its size did not exceed 50 to 50 meters, but it turned out that it was much larger.
Inside you can see the smithy, which was kept in the castle for repairing weapons, the former food stores and the church. The most interesting and exciting entertainment on the territory of the castle is the opportunity to look into the loopholes and through the walls and feel like a medieval defender of Hohosterlevica.
Just imagine that down there are the troops of the Ottoman Empire, and at any moment they can go to the gate attack. The high altitude only contributes to the thrill. Photo panoramas from the height of the castle you can see in our gallery .
And, of course, from such a height a stunning view of the mountains opens. The castle was not only a defensive structure, but also an observation post.
The most interesting place on the territory, of course is the museum, where samples of medieval weapons, armor, crossbows, cannons and handguns of the time are collected. In the museum there are not only weapons, but also books, scrolls, samples of seals, porcelain, household items and much more.
All the photos you can see in our gallery photos from the museum , and on the pages of the main article we will tell you about the most interesting samples.
These armor belong to the late medieval period, when forge craftsmanship has already allowed to create such a beautiful armor. By that time, firearms had already become widespread, and armor had become light enough, and the armored infantry was already very mobile.
This huge size mannequin wears the real armor of a person who actually lived here in the 16th century. His name was Burghauptmann Schenk, and Burghauptmann was not a name or a surname, but a military rank, an analog of a centurion or a modern company commander. Some sources claim that he commanded the fortress.
The growth of this giant was 2 meters 25 centimeters. There is another legend connected with it, which says that during one of the sieges he personally went out to negotiate with the enemy and persuaded the command of the besieging army that all defenders were as high as him. The enemies retreated. This legend seems not the most plausible, but it is actively spoken by guides.
These armor, according to guides and museum staff, are proof of the existence of this man and his huge size.
It's hard to say how true this is. Of course, the evidence is on the face, but on the other hand, it is quite difficult to believe that in the Middle Ages a person of such growth could exist. People at that time were lower than now. This can be seen in any museum in our country, where helmets and chain armours of medieval warriors are exposed.
The second fact that confuses is the feeling of disproportionate size of the helmet. It is too large, with increasing growth in a person's head does not increase so much. In any case, we wait until the castle of Hohosterwitz is visited by Nikolai Valuev, we think he could establish the truth.
Let's leave the opportunity to reason on this topic to the reader and proceed to the following interesting exhibits.
In the era of active use of the Hochosterwitz castle as the main defensive structure in Carinthia, all armies already used firearms. The guns of that time were cumbersome and heavy, some samples in the photo above weigh 10 kilograms or more.
In addition to weapons, you can see many other interesting items from the Middle Ages. We will not dwell on them, but simply invite you to see our gallery of photos from the castle museum .
Among the buildings in the fortress you can find a cafe where you can sit, relax and have tea or coffee. From the food here you can buy only sausages, it is not possible to have a full dinner here. Prices in cafes are quite high, even according to Austrian standards .
Back you can already go down on foot, having passed all fourteen gates. At each gate you can find their description and the story of what surprises were waiting for the attackers here. And in the museum store you can find excellent little books describing the history of the castle, the layouts of the territory and the description of all the gates.
See our photo gallery, which we called: " All 14 gates of Hochosterwitz Castle " and read our other articles about Austria on chinainfoguide.info (list below).
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