Raabs Castle on the Thaya

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Raabs Castle
Raabs Castle, view from the southwest

Raabs Castle, view from the southwest

Creation time : Around 1050/75
Castle type : Hilltop castle
Conservation status: receive
Place: Raabs an der Thaya
Geographical location 48 ° 50 '49.1 "  N , 15 ° 29' 24.4"  E Coordinates: 48 ° 50 '49.1 "  N , 15 ° 29' 24.4"  E
Raabs Castle on the Thaya River (Lower Austria)
Raabs Castle on the Thaya

The Raabs Castle is an elongated hill fort on a rocky ridge high above the city Raabs an der Thaya , Austria at the confluence of the German and the Moravian Thaya .


View of the city of Raabs

The medieval history of the Raabser area only begins with the castle complex in Flur Sand (cadastral municipality Oberpfaffendorf), which was discovered by Kurt Bors in 1992 , about 2 km west of Raabs. According to the dendrochronological data of the north wall, in the period from 926 to 929 a 0.7 hectare area in the narrowest area of ​​a Thaya sling was defended and settled. It concerns the period from 907 to 955, in which the Hungarians had the sovereignty in the former Bavarian Ostland , in today's Lower Austria up to the Enns .

Whoever was the initiator of the construction of the "Sand" castle complex, which can also be described as a fortified settlement, was what the inhabitants of the Slavs found . The lifespan of this facility, which can still be attributed to the early Middle Ages, was relatively short. After a few decades it was abandoned again, after a tangible fire disaster, probably caused by a hostile attack by Hungarian troops. However, no written evidence has come down to us about this early attempt at building power in the “Northern Forest”.

The written sources only started with the naming of a lord of the castle "Gotfridi admissus in castrum Racouz" in the Chronicle of Cosmas of Prague in 1100. From the years 1074 and 1076, the name of a forest area, the " silva Rogacz " in two royal donations to the Babenberg margraves of the margravate of Austria , is known.

The neighboring residents in Moravia and Bohemia called the county " Rakoza " . Even today Austria is called " Rakousko " by the Czechs - "the land behind Raabs". This made it the name for Austria, and " Rakuschany " for the Austrians.

The instability in the Bohemian-Moravian region in the first half of the 11th century repeatedly led to conflicts. In the Altaich annals for the year 1082, for example , the son of Margrave Adalbert conquered an “urbs” in the area of ​​today's northern border after it was forcibly torn from his father.

Gottfried II von Raabs was a son of Gottfried I von Gosham and grandson of Ulrich von Gosham , a nobleman from the area northwest of Melk . He called himself Gottfried von Raabs , after the castle. The chronicler Cosmas of Prague reports about Gottfried II, that he had taken in Lutold, a Moravian Přemyslid who was apparently at odds with his relatives , and that this guest then carried out night raids on Moravian territory, so that finally the Duke of Bratislava saw himself to go to Moravia with an army. But before fighting broke out, the duke tried to resolve the situation peacefully by reminding Gottfried of previous friendships and demanding that Lutold be extradited. The latter now occupied the castle with his people. At Gottfried's request, the Duke of Bohemia then besieged the castle for six weeks in 1093 until Lutold gave up and he gave Gottfried Raab's castle back.

Gottfried II was appointed by Emperor Emperor Heinrich IV in 1105, together with his brother Konrad I von Raabs, to be responsible for the Nuremberg Castle . Thus both became de facto the first burgraves of the burgraviate of Nuremberg , although the corresponding designation burggravius ​​de Norinberg was first used by Gottfried III. von Raabs , the son of Gottfried II., can be proven. Gottfried's brother Konrad I von Raabs appears around 1140 in the personal association around Margrave Heinrich I. Konrad II subsequently acquired the title of count. After the Raabser Counts died out in the male line (around 1192), the county was divided through the marriage of the two heirs. The eldest daughter Sophie was through her marriage to Friedrich III. von Zollern , who was appointed as the Nuremberg burgrave, became the “ ancestral mother ” of the Hohenzollern and the later Prussian kings and German emperors. The west with the castle went to the Counts of Hirschberg -Tollenstein, the other part with the Raabs market around 1200 to Duke Leopold VI.

In 1252 the county came undivided by King Ottokar II to the Counts of Plain-Hardegg . In 1260 the castle was owned by the Wok von Rosenberg . In 1282, the Rosenbergs had to cede the castle to the Habsburgs, after a large part of the county was confiscated by King Rudolf in 1278. In the same year the brothers Leuthold and Heinrich von Kuenring got the castle as a fief. As a result, the property was again separated: The sovereign part was pledged to Stephan von Maissau in 1283, the western areas with the castle went to the Counts of Hirschberg. From 1297 the entire county with the castle was again a sovereign fiefdom, the eastern areas, castle and market, were now in pledge possession of the Maissauer.

In 1385 the property came to the Lords of Puchheim , who, at the beginning of the 16th century, broke the rule from the lordship and owned it as free property. It was under them that the castle was largely expanded to become today's "Burg-Schloss". They obtained several market rights for Raabs and earned great services at the court of the sovereign. During the Reformation they were initially ardent supporters of Protestantism. Franz Anton von Puchheim sold the castle with all its accessories in 1702, after he had become Bishop of Wiener Neustadt, to Franz Anton von Quarient and Raall, under whom the rule of Kollmitz came to Raabs through purchase in 1708.

In 1760 Baron Johann Christoph von Bartenstein bought the manor and the castle. After his grandchildren, the property came to the Kaiserstein family through marriage and from there to Baron Ludwig von Villa-Secca. Wilhelm Ritter von Lindheim acquired the castle in 1878, and in 1888 Imperial Count Philipp Boos von Waldeck and Montfort from him. In 1912 Baron Hugo Klinger von Klingerstorff became the owner. The First World War brought the economic collapse of Raab's rule, and the property and the castle were auctioned off in 1932. In 1970 Willy Enk became the owner of the castle and extensive renovations were carried out under him. In 1996 the publisher Richard Pils bought the castle after a foreclosure auction. Pils is also the “fruit grower, beekeeper, painter and state prize winner ” of Lower Austria, among other things for its castle renovation. Together with the association Our Castle - Friends and Patrons of Raabs Castle , he is carefully renovating the buildings of the variously divided castle complex .

Building description / history

Building age plan by building researcher Oliver Fries
In the courtyard

Raabs Castle, which is still inhabited today, uses an elongated rock spur on the southern right bank of the German Thaya, opposite the confluence of the Moravian Thaya, which flows from north to south. Access to the mostly vertically sloping spur is only possible from the west, from the Oberndorf district. Due to the topography , an elongated castle complex was created, with the outer foothills around 200 m long and a maximum of 40 m wide. Appropriate outer bailey and kennels are directed towards the western side of the entrance , the actual, 107 m long, up to 37 m wide stronghold is situated in a protected position at the eastern end of the spur. Due to the construction activity that took place over several centuries, an unusually well-structured, multi-phase castle complex was created that took the topographical conditions into account.

The oldest building elements according to Adalbert Klaar , the so-called “fixed house”, and the Romanesque chapel consecrated to Saint Clemens are only recognizable in the floor plan or are currently plastered structures.

At least in deeper areas of the wall structure of the upstream 5-square shows the keep strictly stock exemplary rubble masonry of unworked partly stones and remains of joint line, which can be dated to the mid-12th century. From a height of approx. 10 m the masonry jumps back and the keep forms a 7-cornered floor plan that takes into account the wedge-shaped base, the masonry of which is to be placed in the 2nd half of the 13th century.

The construction of the castle chapel suggests that it was originally two-story, as the basement, which has recently been used as a wine cellar, is illuminated by a heavily modified primary arched window. In the south wall of the chapel, the previous owner W. Enk uncovered a Romanesque funnel window at the level of today's west gallery, the masonry of which, like that of the primary arched window in the apse, is structured by grouting and clearly dates the building to the 12th century.

On the southern Bering , in a cellar east of the keep and in the base area of ​​the chapel, exposed masonry from the 1st half of the 12th century can be seen in places. The strictly warehouse-like, hammer-like quarry stone masonry can be well dated to that time due to the small parts, which are only disturbed zonally by inserted large cuboids, and due to the still strongly tectonic storage. The base zone is often formed from " Opus spicatum " -like structures.

According to the findings, the existence of an advanced, wedge-shaped keep-like tower, a component that was only considered possible in the 13th century, has been proven here as early as the 12th century. The early high standard of development of the castle can be explained by the establishment as a local, representative center of power of the Raabser counts.

The Renaissance gate to the stronghold also describes the location of the Romanesque gate building , which is to be reconstructed as a strongly withdrawn flank gate near the tower. The original corner situation of the 12th century can still be seen on the goal wall, the recently exposed masonry with grouting shows similar structures to that at the base of the keep and the building findings of the 12th century already described. The neatly executed corner dressing is formed in places by erected orthostats .

Encouraged by individual finds unearthed during “treasure digs” by the previous owner W. Enk in the approx. 6 × 12 m cellar under the so-called “Great Knight's Hall”, archaeological excavations (1995, 1999 and 2001) were carried out in this area . The result of the excavation carried out by S. Felgenhauer-Schmiedt is as follows today: A dry-laid internal wall is attached to a 1.12 m thick quarry stone wall with a mortar bond that runs from west to east. To the west, the mortar wall forms a sloping end, presumably the continuation of the wall towards the southwest. In the east, a corner situation is still emerging within the basement. The younger Bering, from the 14th century, is employed directly on the southern front of this wall. Inside, numerous inspection horizons, mostly made of screed and wooden planks, run against the older mortar wall. According to the find and findings situation, a settlement from the 11th century can be identified on Raabser Burgberg. The structural remains found show an early stone building, which can be expected in other areas of today's castle, and stratigraphically dates to around 1050.

The numerous and complex findings from the first half of the 12th century allow a highly structured, progressive castle complex to be reconstructed - in line with the first mention of the castle around 1100 - which combines the old parts of the 11th century with a closed ring in the early 12th century and integrated.

The “fixed house”, a component that has been counted among the oldest in previous literature, must, according to the latest findings, be placed in the 13th century. Massive conversions and extensions of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance finally formed today's, multi-part "Burg-Schloss", whose multi-storey, peripheral tracts surround two courtyards and integrate the above-mentioned old components.

The castle is strongly characterized by the unifying buildings of the 16th century as well as by the abundance of time-specific architectural details and, above all, by more recent renovations of the 17th century.

The “Ochsenturm” projecting from the southern Bering, belonging to the late Gothic extension, is a semicircular battery tower with a diameter of 17 m. On the northern front is the Renaissance-era well house, the well shaft of which extends to the bottom of the valley. The parts in front of the building in the west have the so-called “Hunger Tower” as a late medieval core and another round tower in the outer bailey, which, however, have been heavily shaped by redesigns of the 16th and 17th centuries. The “hunger tower”, together with another round tower that was demolished in the 18th century, formed a gate system that was in front of the gate of the stronghold.

The first forecourt located below the “tournament garden”, the so-called “reversal”, with open Renaissance arches on the valley side should be emphasized. The neck ditch between the outer bailey and the stronghold is spanned by a modern stone bridge. The 16th century kennel wall, partially placed in the steep slope, with semicircular shell turrets encompasses the flanks of the neck ditch and parts of the stronghold. The building investigations recently started by R. Kuttig allow reconstructing a massive 13th century building above the area of ​​the "reversal" based on the relevant findings. The platform, known as the “bastion”, is separated from the hinterland by a ditch carved out of the rock and connected to the site of the former “castle nursery” by an aqueduct-like arch. Presumably in this area, in front of the main castle, was the "Burggrafenburg", which was built here after the sovereign prince took possession of the rule. On the foundations of the 13th century, at the latest in the course of the fortification of the 16th century, a forework was built, which can also be seen on the engraving by GM Vischer (1672).


  • MGH Scriptores rerum Germanicarum - Nova series, II: The Chronicle of the Bohemians of Cosmas of Prague , 172 f.
  • Othmar Knapp : 900 years of Parish Raabs an der Thaya - On Assumption of Mary on the mountains . Waidhofen an der Thaya 1982, 22 ff.
  • Sabine Felgenhauer-Schmiedt: Archaeological research in Raabs Castle on the Thaya, Lower Austria . In: Contributions to Medieval Archeology in Austria ( BMÖ ), ISSN  1011-0062 , 22/2006, pp. 15–49, online volume, (PDF; 47.67 MB).
  • Robert Kuttig: Preliminary report on the architectural situation of Raabs Castle. Unpublished research report in the archive of the Federal Monuments Office, State Conservatory for Lower Austria. Vienna; Krems 2006.
  • Castles, pens and palaces. Regions Waldviertel, Danube Basin, South Bohemia, Vysočina, South Moravia. Destination Waldviertel, Zwettl 2007, ISBN 978-3-9502262-2-5 , p. 82 ff.
  • Jiří Kacetl, Petr Lazárek, David Molík: Hrady a zámky moravsko-rakouského Podyjí slovem / Castles of the Austro-Moravian Thaya Valley in words. South Moravian Museum in Znojmo in cooperation with the Retz City Museum, Znojmo / Znojmo 2013, ISBN 978-80-86974-12-5 , pp. 11–16 ( Raabs chapter , PDF; 80 pages, 1.7 MB ; Czech / German; accessed on December 28, 2019).


  • Old castles and their new masters in Lower Austria. Documentary, Austria, 2018, 24 Min, written and directed by. Barbara Baldauf, Camera: Ossi Denkmayr, Helmut Muttenthaler Production: ORF , Row: Experience Austria , first broadcast May 6, 2018 in ORF 2 , Summary of ORF, online- Video.

Web links

Commons : Burg Raabs an der Thaya  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Karl Lechner : History of the settlement and the distribution of real estate in the Waldviertel. In: Yearbook for regional studies of Lower Austria. New series, year 19, commemorative publication for the 60th anniversary of the Association for Regional Studies of Lower Austria, Vienna 1924, ZDB -ID 501694-0 , pp. 10–210 (“Donation of the» silva Rogacz «from 1074 and 1076”: p. 82, PDF (18.4 MB) on ZOBODAT ).
  2. a b Raabs Castle. In: City of Raabs an der Thaya. Retrieved December 28, 2019 (Austrian German).
  3. ^ Encyclopedia entry: Rakousko (Czech). In: wortbedeutung.info .
  4. Castles and chateaus of the Austro-Moravian Thaya Valley. In: muzeumznojmo.cz , 2013, p. 6 (PDF; 1.7 MB; Czech / German).
  5. Jürgen Zahrl: Raabs an der Thaya: A castle that he did not want. In: Courier . August 10, 2019, accessed December 27, 2019 .
  6. ^ Raabs Castle: Information. In: Provincial Library , accessed December 27, 2019.