On my third and final day in Austria I went to visit Kruezenstein Castle (pictured above) and had plans to see Lichtenstein Castle. Kruezenstein Castle is located a few kilometers from Vienna on a wooded hilltop in the town of Leobendorf. To get there you have to spend an hour or so on public transport and then take a leisurely 30-35 minute walk through a sleepy town and some woods.
The castle is absolutely stunning, I have never seen anything like it before, it’s as if it was taken straight from a German fairy-tale and put into a Disney movie. The building is in such an amazing condition it’s hard to believe it’s actually a castle. Well, that’s because it really isn’t, it was built as show castle, with no purpose to live in it. It is also fairly new. Occupying the site of a previously destroyed castle, Kruezenstein was started in 1870 and finished in 1906 by Count Wilszek. It is a collection of medieval structures from all over Europe purchased by the Count. He created an aesthetically looking romanticized version of a castle. In order to see the interior of the castle you had to purchase a guided tour and I’m glad I did. The interior was just as gorgeous and filled with many medieval trinkets.
I went into the tour knowing it was in German (because I read about it beforehand) and that they give you a piece of paper with some information. However, when we started the tour I was in a group with about 4 or 5 others who preferred it in English, so the guide started it in English, until….. a German family came 5 minutes later. He did his best to provide some information in English throughout the tour and I was very thankful for that.
Count Wilszek having nearly an unlimmited amount of money purchased all kinds of different medieval parts. In the courtyard, on onside is a Loggia (balcony) from northern Italy, on the other side is a 500 year old Gothic balcony which was part of a church in Slovakia, also, a half timbered wall from Nurmberg and a well made of wellstone from Venice. Inside, there is an armory with an amazing display of armaments; all of which are around 500 years old, a festival and banquet hall, a library, a stained-glassed chapel and a kitchen, with a massive 7 meter long oak table. Also in the kitchen is a grill designed by Leonardo da Vinci. The armory boasts one of the largest private collections of antique armaments and unique items from times of war. One of the coolest aspects were the weapons of the poor; they ingenuously created weapons from field tools. Crude, but menacing. Unfortunately we were unable to take pictures inside the rooms.
*As you can see by my pictures, it was of course cloudy. It seems to be a common theme throughout this trip. As I’m writing this, it is also cloudy and starting to storm.
After my interesting and awesome experience at the Kruezenstein Castle, I had the thirst to see another. Lichtenstein Castle is another castle on the outskirts of Vienna, but in the complete opposite direction of Kruezenstein. They have tours until 4 o’clock and like Kruezenstein it’s the only way to see the interior. I thought I would be able to make it there by three since it was about 1:30 ish. However, it took a little over an hour and a half by train just to get to the station. From the station you then have to take a bus. This is where my story comes to an end. I figured, even though I couldn’t do a tour it would still be cool to see the castle. When I arrived to the station, it started to rain, again, I waited for 15 minutes and didn’t see the bus I neededm so I decided to go back. I was sick of the rain, didn’t feel like waiting any more and didn’t want to walk around in the rain. I wasn’t upset because it was an afterthought and I still had a nice time on the trains. It’s an amazing way to experience more of a city.
*Right outside my window now there are some really intense lightening bolts coming down.