Grafenegg Castle

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Grafenegg Castle
Grafenegg Castle

Grafenegg Castle

Creation time : 15th century
Conservation status: Received or received substantial parts
Standing position : Count
Place: Grafenegg
Geographical location 48 ° 25 '43 "  N , 15 ° 44' 46"  E Coordinates: 48 ° 25 '43 "  N , 15 ° 44' 46"  E
Height: 192  m above sea level A.
Grafenegg Castle (Lower Austria)
Grafenegg Castle

Grafenegg Castle is located in Lower Austria near Haitzendorf ( Grafenegg municipality ) and around 14 km east of Krems . Together with Kreuzenstein Castle and Anif Castle near Salzburg, it is one of the most important castle buildings of Romantic Historicism in Austria .


Count August von Breuner-Enckevoirt with family

In 1294 a small settlement called Espersdorf was first mentioned on the site of today's Grafenegg. At that time there was only one mill and one farm. After 1435 the farm yard was surrounded by a curtain wall and moat . At that time already a sovereign fiefdom , it came in the second half of the 15th century into the possession of the eponym Ulrich von Grafeneck , in 1477 to Emperor Friedrich III. His son Maximilian I sold it to Heinrich Prüschenk , whose son Johann I Count Hardegg had the facility rebuilt around 1500. The slender tower on the east side dates from this late Gothic period. In 1536 Bernhard I. Thurzo bought the Grafenegg castle and estate and in 1538 had the portal to the east tower built in the Renaissance style. He founded the Grafenegger line of the Thurzo family, which died out in 1596 with his son Bernhard II. Grafenegg falls to his daughter Benigna, wife of Martin von Starhemberg .

After changing owners several times, Johann Baptist Verda von Verdenberg , chancellor and confidante of Emperor Ferdinand II and his son Ferdinand III. who converted the complex into a fortified castle between 1622 and 1633. Wall houses, which still exist today, were built at the four corners of the complex , which is surrounded by walls and a moat . In the course of the Thirty Years' War these were used to set up guns , but the castle was captured by Swedish troops in 1645 and temporarily occupied. As part of the construction work, a chapel was also completed in the north wing in 1633, which was consecrated to the Most Holy Trinity .

From the Verdenberg the rule came by inheritance to the Counts Enckevort and subsequently to the Counts Breuner . Count August von Breuner-Enckevoirt (1796–1877) inherited it in 1813. Under him and his son August Johann (1828–1894), the castle was built between 1840 and 1888 in the spirit of romantic historicism by Leopold Ernst , who became master builder of St. Stephan was appointed in Vienna , and his son Hugo Ernst was fundamentally redesigned and thus received its current form. In the Viennese stock market crash of 1873, the Counts Breuner lost a large part of their fortune, so that the planned mighty dome in the southeast of the complex was no longer implemented, which means that the castle character has been better preserved.

After the male line of Count Breuner died out, the castle fell to the Duke of Ratibor and Prince of Corvey, Victor II. Amadeus , and since then the castle has been owned by the Ratibor family , a branch of the Hohenlohe family . Between 1945 and 1955 the structure of the building was damaged by the Russian occupation forces and the furniture and parts of the book inventory were stolen or burned. From 1967 the castle could be restored and made accessible to the public with the support of the state and federal government and the intensive commitment of the former rent master Gerhard Großberger and the owner Franz-Albrecht Metternich-Sándor .

Building description

The renovation by Leopold and Hugo Ernst in the 19th century was generally gentle with the existing structure, but gave the palace a completely different overall impression by adding stepped gables , arcades and the facade decoration in the neo-Gothic Tudor style , which was reflected in the interior decoration by Ludwig Wächtler - largely in the neo-renaissance style . The closed complex consists of four wings that are arranged around an inner courtyard. Starting from the north wing, the renovation proceeded counterclockwise in the 19th century.

North wing

Castle bridge and gate construction

One enters the castle from the north side over the castle bridge from 1857, which is decorated with coat of arms holders, to the neo-Gothic gate (around 1856 to 1858). Directly above the entrance, under a canopy, there is a knight statue from 1856, which depicts the builder, Count August Ferdinand Breuner-Enckevoirt. After the gate you walk through the entrance, which runs at a slightly inclined angle to the bridge, which shows a ribbed vault from the early 16th century, and leads to the castle courtyard. Before that, you will come to the castle chapel on the left and the main staircase on the right.

The palace chapel to the east in the north wing was under construction in 1846 and was inaugurated in 1853. It has a brilliant color ( polychromy ) and contains a late Gothic winged altar from 1491, whose shrine figures represent the coronation of Mary. The south wall of the Kapellenhof - between the entrance and the chapel - shows the coats of arms of all Grafenegg owners up to Count August Ferdinand Breuner-Enckevoirt.

The main staircase, which was largely completed in 1851, is located in the western part of the north wing. Its model is located in Strawberry Hill Castle near Twickenham in the then English county of Middlesex (since 1888 County of London ). The knight figure on the lowest parapet embodies the ideal of the client. This is immortalized in a portrait bust with a wallet in hand, the opposite of which shows the master builder Leopold Ernst with a blueprint and a compass.

On the upper floor is the knight's hall , completed in 1851, the showpiece of the palace, so to speak, in which the most precious materials - various woods, leather, marble and metal - were processed. Several (not preserved) knight armor were set up around a central chimney. The knight's hall has a remarkable coffered ceiling and three courtyard-facing bay windows with coats of arms in the glazing. Today's murals show secular and spiritual personalities from the House of Habsburg .

To the west is the Wappenstube , which was probably completed in the late 1850s. On the wooden ceiling, it shows the coats of arms of 128 ancestors of Countess Agathe Maria Breuner, who was married to August Johann Breuner, the son of the client, in 1855.

West wing

West wing

On the western front there is a monumental loggia , which was completed in 1863 and a few years later the interior was decorated with cheerful ceiling paintings and grotesque console figures. The dominant main tower from 1861 is crowned with so-called pepper box corner turrets , lies in front of the west wing against the castle courtyard and thus forms a strong contrast to the slender late Gothic tower on the east side of the castle courtyard.

All rooms on the main floor in the west wing are lavishly decorated; different veneers, carved ornaments and figural details result in the magnificent overall effect. With the exception of the loggia, every room has a colorful historical tiled stove.

At the north-west corner of the complex there is a dining room and large salon - also a corner salon - with hammer-beam ceilings based on the English model, which are among the top craftsmanship of historicism in Austria. In the large salon , the beam heads of the colorful ceiling are alternately decorated by knights and angels.

In the middle of the west wing are the yellow salon (or ladies' salon ), toilet room (or small salon ) and bathroom, designed in 1866 . The drafts for the bedroom and the count's writing room in the south-west corner date from 1864, called the Blue Salon due to the wall painting . This is equipped with particularly magnificent wall paneling.

East and south wing

These parts were only redesigned from 1887 to 1888, with the outer front in the east, with the exception of the protruding choir of the castle chapel, essentially unchanged from the 16th century. Hugo Ernst built the garden room in the southeast corner , while the library in the east wing, consisting of three room parts, was redesigned in the neo-baroque style.

Castle Park

The castle park
Mill of the castle
The three plane trees are the last remnants of an old avenue

Grafenegg Castle and several outbuildings are located in the middle of a 32-hectare park that is adorned with numerous sculptures.

Around the castle was a baroque ornamental and pleasure garden, of which only the ruins of the theater pavilion and a group of figures Hercules conquers the bull (today on the road to Grafenwörth, Grafenegger Riese ) have been preserved.

Even before 1808 (first mentioned), Count August laid out a natural, romantic landscape garden on the occasion of the partial razing of the old works . The garden was then - after impressions brought back from trips between 1818 and 1837 - supplemented by elements of the English garden . Under Count August Johann and Duke Victor Amadeus, the park was planted as an arboretum with numerous native and exotic conifers, around 1910 175 different conifer species were found here. This old stock of trees and the abundant recent replanting are particularly valuable. Today there are more than 2,000 deciduous and coniferous trees and some giant trees that are more than 250 years old. The park is one of the most important garden architectural monuments in Austria and is mentioned in the Monument Protection Act ( No. 12 in the appendix to Section 1, Paragraph 12 of the DMSG ).

For the state horticultural show from 2008, the park was revitalized, based on the design principles of a landscape garden from the 19th century.

In 2007, the Wolkenturm , an open-air stage with 1700 seats and 300 grass spaces , was built in the park east of the castle . The open-air pavilion comes from the next ENTERprise ( Marie-Therese Harnoncourt , Ernst J. Fuchs ) and the landscape architects Land in Sicht . The sculptural building takes up the element of the amphitheater as a garden inventory of the type of the baroque garden and cites formal elements of the old structure in the park.

Manor estate

Manor estate
Auditorium ( Austrian Film Award 2018 )

On the northern edge of the park is the estate settlement , a listed group of houses consisting of a porter's house, a mighty storage box, two single-storey farm wings, a mill, several residential buildings, an administrator's house and a large farmyard.

In 2008 the ensemble was expanded to include the Grafenegg Auditorium . This hall, designed by the architects schröder schulte-ladbeck and Dieter Irresberger and sound- designed by the Munich acoustician Karlheinz Müller, serves as a concert hall for up to 1,300 people. The open, irregular polyhedron glass building blends in with the old building with its formal language.

Todays use

The open-air stage Wolkenturm

Most of the important rooms of Grafenegg Castle can be visited. Furthermore, various events have been held since 1971, such as exhibitions, concerts, conferences, courses and, since 1976, the Grafenegger Advent every year. The initiator and engine of the cultural activities in Grafenegg was the managing director and general manager Dr. Gerhard Großberger, who made Grafenegg a fixed point in Austria's cultural landscape during his 35 years of service. In 1984 and 1987 the castle was the setting for the two-part Lower Austrian provincial exhibition The Age of Franz Joseph . There is also a riding school, the castle tavern and hotel (operator: Toni Mörwald ) and a vinotheque on the castle grounds in the estate settlement .

The open-air stage Wolkenturm , which was completed in 2007 and has 1750 seats, and the Auditorium Grafenegg concert hall , which serves as a venue and alternative location for the open air, are located in the palace gardens . The Grafenegg Festival has been held here every year since summer 2007 under the artistic direction of pianist Rudolf Buchbinder . The palace park has also been a location for the Lower Austrian State Garden Show since 2008.

The Club-Siegerschau (CAC) of the ÖKWZR , the Austrian greyhound breeding and racing association, has been taking place every year in May for a long time .

In 2012 the television film Die kleine Lady was shot here. Scenes from the episode The Prodigal Son of Vienna Blood were filmed in Grafenegg Castle in 2019. The building was supposed to be a military academy (St. Florian's). In 2019, the episode Das Haus der Lügen (ORF) and Der Feuerteufel von Wien (ARD) of the TV series Blind determined was filmed in Schloss Grafenegg .


  • Evelyn Benesch, Bernd Euler-Rolle , Claudia Haas, Renate Holzschuh-Hofer, Wolfgang Huber, Katharina Packpfeifer, Eva Maria Vancsa-Tironiek, Wolfgang Vogg: Lower Austria north of the Danube (=  Dehio-Handbuch . Die Kunstdenkmäler Österreichs ). Anton Schroll & Co, Vienna et al. 1990, ISBN 3-7031-0652-2 , p. 303-305 .
  • Georg Binder: The Lower Austrian castles and palaces. 2 volumes, Vienna / Leipzig 1925, II, p. 48 ff.
  • Bertrand Michael Buchmann, Brigitte Fassbinder: Castles and palaces between Gföhl, Ottenstein and Grafenegg. Castles and palaces in Lower Austria. Volume 17, Birch series, St. Pölten / Vienna 1990, 65 ff.
  • Rudolf Büttner: Castles and palaces on the Danube. Birkenverlag, Vienna 1977, p. 157 ff.
  • Werner Kitlitschka : Grafenegg Castle. Castle guide, undated (available in the castle).
  • Falko Daim , Karin and Thomas Kühtreiber (eds.): Castles Waldviertel - Wachau - Moravian Thayatal. 2nd edition, Verlag Freytag & Berndt, Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-7079-1273-9 , pp. 125 ff.
  • Klaus Eggert: On the building history of Grafenegg in the 19th century. In: The Age of Franz Joseph. Exhibition catalog. Part 1: From the Revolution to the Founding Era, 1848–1880. 1984, pp. 511-521.
  • Willi Erasmus: Castles, monasteries and chateaus in the Waldviertel, Danube region, South Bohemia, Vysočina, South Moravia regions. Zwettl 2007, ISBN 978-3-9502262-2-5 , p. 39 ff.
  • Martina Lorenz, Karl Portele: Castles Palaces Austria. Vienna 1997, p. 48.
  • Laurin Luchner: Castles in Austria I. Munich 1978, p. 146 f.
  • Georg Clam-Martinic : Austrian Castle Lexicon. Linz 1992, p. 126 ( online at Austria-Forum ).
  • Gerhard Reichhalter, Karin and Thomas Kühtreiber: Castles Waldviertel Wachau. St. Pölten 2001, p. 99 ff.
  • Hans Tietze : The collections of Grafenegg Castle. Austrian Art Topography Supplement to Volume I, Vienna 1908.

Web links

Commons : Schloss Grafenegg  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Andreas Zajic: The inscriptions of the federal state of Lower Austria. Political district of Krems. Haitzendorf, Pfk. St. Ulrich. In: Retrieved June 19, 2020 .
  2. ^ Uwe Weinzierl: Princely music arena . In: The world . June 21, 2007.
  3. ^ A b c d Eva Berger: Historic Gardens of Austria: Gardens and parks from the Renaissance to around 1930 . tape 1 : Lower Austria, Burgenland . Böhlau Verlag, Vienna 2002, ISBN 3-205-99352-7 , Grafenegg, Schloßpark , p. 225 ff . ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  4. ^ For an old plan of the Grafenegg Park, see Federal Minister for Education, Science and Culture; Federal Chancellery: Culture Report 1999, Chapter Federal Monuments Office: Central Departments: Department of Garden Architecture , Fig. 1 Grafenegg Castle, park. P. 148 ( whole chapter Central Departments , pdf ( memento from November 20, 2015 in the Internet Archive ),, p. 4 there).
  5. Wolkenturm - open-air pavilion at Grafenegg Castle Park . In: architektur im netz ,
  6. The Cloud Tower - an acoustic sculpture. In: Retrieved November 21, 2015 .
  7. Grafenegg Auditorium . In: architektur im netz ,
  8. Auditorium. In: Retrieved November 21, 2015 .