ende
ende
menu
ende

You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Burgenland Travel Tales: Colourful Castles throughout the course of history

Those of you who follow me travelling around Austria will know that I have already been writing a lot of insightful stories about the very essence of Burgenland, located in the east of Austria at the border with Hungary and Slovakia. The Burgenland really hasn’t got much to do at all with the rest of the Alpine republic, neither climatically nor historically speaking. But it has got a soul to it, expressed by its many extraordinary inhabitants about who I am going to tell you more today. Some of them have built mighty castles and fortresses, hence the German name “BURGENland” (“Burgen” literally meaning castles or fortresses). But is this true?

 

In actual fact, the BURGENland has been named after its cities more than its castles. We start conquering them one by one, starting with Stadtschlaining and visiting the local peace palace “Friedensburg” Schlaining!

Peaceful is what you would call the atmosphere in the tiny city of Stadtschlaining located in Southern Burgenland, even though the mighty fortress with its deep moat and strong, fortified walls gives testimony to an eventful course of history. For many centuries, the noble line of the Batthyány family has dominated the course of events here, while only recently, after the fall of the Iron Curtain that once ran close-by, Burg Stadtschlaining has been turned into a so-called “peace palace“. The local “Austrian Study Centre For Peace & Conflict Solutions” runs regular international trainings, adult education courses and high-profile congresses among members of different NGOs, Austrian & foreign ministries or the United Nations. Hard to believe if you travel here at unawares: The Schlaining palace building is more than just a fortress worth visiting!

As we first lay eyes upon the mighty castle, its eventful course of history truly becomes alive for us ...

As we first lay eyes upon the mighty castle, its eventful course of history truly becomes alive for us …

 

... right upon entering, we can spot the difference between this and many other castles and fortresses in Burgenland: A sense of peace and even romance gather here!

… right upon entering, we can spot the difference between this and many other castles and fortresses in Burgenland: A sense of peace and even romance gather here!

 

The “tears” give witness to the plight of humans through the course of history, a history that was often marked by terror, conquering, land taking and survival.

The “tears” give witness to the plight of humans through the course of history, a history that was often marked by terror, conquering, land taking and survival.

 

We are being welcomed and informed about Schlaining Palace as an international peace palace today, offering a renowned international study centre for peace and conflict management for people from all over the world.

We are being welcomed and informed about Schlaining Palace as an international peace palace today, offering a renowned international study centre for peace and conflict management for people from all over the world.

 

Next to the “peace palace”, it is worth taking a look at the permanent exhibition depicting life throughout the course of the centuries: Blue print as one of the oldest textile crafts in Burgenland is the focus of another story I have already published here!

Next to the “peace palace”, it is worth taking a look at the permanent exhibition depicting life throughout the course of the centuries: Blue print as one of the oldest textile crafts in Burgenland is the focus of another story I have already published here!

 

From high up in the tower, you actually have a magnificent view over the surroundings of Stadtschlaining.

From high up in the tower, you actually have a magnificent view over the surroundings of Stadtschlaining.

 

Very different is the atmosphere of our “blogger-in-residence” palace Bernstein that has me & my dear friends / fellow travel writers Angelika Mandler-Saul (WiederUnterwegs.com), Tanja Klindworth (Wellness-Bummler.de), Monika Baum (Entdecker-Greise.de) & Milos Willing (Luxuslupe.de) stay there for three consecutive nights. The beautiful castle still owned by the Almásy family is being run as a palace hotel with lots of “tender loving care”. Andrea Almásy and her son Rasmus Berger are true hosts to the core, taking care of us with excellent wining & dining and beautifully furnished palace hotel rooms. Check out more about my visit here: “Burg Bernstein: Be My Guest, Take A Rest“.

THANK YOU for a wonderful few days spent in a family-run palace hotel with lots of attention to detail and care. We would love to come back any time and can highly recommend a stay here.!

THANK YOU for a wonderful few days spent in a family-run palace hotel with lots of attention to detail and care. We would love to come back any time and can highly recommend a stay here.!

 

In the very south of Burgenland, Güssing Palace towers above the city with the same name as a visible sign of conquest in the BURGENland.

Once more, we come across the family name of the Batthyány nobility, whose forefathers have erected this castle some 900 years ago on an extinct volcano hill. Accessing it, therefore, proves interesting: Apart from climbing and walking, we choose to be guests of the 21st century and actually opt for taking the panorama lift all the way to the ancient castle gates in Güssing!

Here, too, we are met by warm-hearted hosts of present times: Mrs Brigitte Hauptmann and her dog Sir Moritz welcome us to a guided visit around the premises of the ancient fortified castle. Besides the modern restaurant and the excellent 360° views across the entire Southern Burgenland district, it is worth checking out the intricate glass and iron fabrics exhibited in the palace museum. As well as listening to Mrs Hauptmann’s many stories about the knights and mistresses that have ruled & reigned the colourful events here at Güssing Palace …!

A warm welcome: Mrs … opens a door into past & present of this mighty fortress in the very south of Burgenland.

A warm welcome: Mrs Brigitte Hauptmann opens a door into past & present of this mighty fortress in the very south of Burgenland.

 

Funny drinking cups, such as this little pig here, bear witness to an excellent sense of humour back in the days of the nobility ...

Funny drinking cups, such as this little pig here, bear witness to an excellent sense of humour back in the days of the nobility …

 

.. moreover, I am intrigued by the delicate workings of the iron fashioning here at the Güssing Palace: Apparently, the collection here counts as one of the largest in Austria with a reputation that stretches far across its borders!

.. moreover, I am intrigued by the delicate workings of the iron fashioning here at the Güssing Palace: Apparently, the collection here counts as one of the largest in Austria with a reputation that stretches far across its borders!

 

Old musical instruments too form part of the repertoire here – what a shame we can no longer listen to it being played.

Old musical instruments too form part of the repertoire here – what a shame we can no longer listen to it being played.

 

After your visit, make sure you check out the local palace restaurant serving good, traditional Austrian food according to the season – such as game with red cabbage and dumplings here.

After your visit, make sure you check out the local palace restaurant serving good, traditional Austrian food according to the season – such as game with red cabbage and dumplings here.

 

The palace of Güssing can already be seen from afar, towering above its extinct volcanic hill.

The palace of Güssing can already be seen from afar, towering above its extinct volcanic hill.

 

“Colourful castles throughout the course of history” … Lockenhaus Palace really has something going in the sense of a colourful history!

Lockenhaus Palace being the fourth palace we visit as part of our trip here in Burgenland really has a unique story to tell. Of a dark chapter in history … or herstory, rather! Not only did the “blood lady” Erzsébeth Báthory rule here as part of the palace’s darkest decades in history (read more about my early travels here including a knights’ feast & bats visit on this legendary castle!), but have we also been summoned to attend a Dracula theatre play here! Yes! And what a theatre play it is, actually following the actors around the castle on many different stages throughout the course of events in the theatre … fiction becomes hard to tell from reality, we are totally captivated! Lockenhaus Palace also offers beautifully furnished hotel rooms and Austria’s largest kindergarten for bats – check it all out at www.ritterburg.at!

Welcome to Lockenhaus Palace: A special exhibition about bats will tell you more about these fascinating animals living and breeding here!

Welcome to Lockenhaus Palace: A special exhibition about bats will tell you more about these fascinating animals living and breeding here!

 

Like many other castles in the Burgenland, Lockenhaus Palace towers above a hill in the forest close to the Burgenland border with Hungary.

Like many other castles in the Burgenland, Lockenhaus Palace towers above a hill in the forest close to the Burgenland border with Hungary.

 

... modern-day, merry hosts such as Manuel Komosny and his Troubadour make us forget part of the palace’s darker chapters in history.

… modern-day, merry hosts such as Manuel Komosny and his Troubadour make us forget part of the palace’s darker chapters in history.

 

The highlight of our stay is marked by this excellent theatre play enacting Dracula here in Lockenhaus ...

The highlight of our stay is marked by this excellent theatre play enacting Dracula here in Lockenhaus …

 

... a theatre play that remains unparalleled in terms of professional acting and the mighty stage of the natural ambiance and atmosphere at the old castle. WOW – a true must-see event in your cultural calendar of events when exploring the Burgenland!

… a theatre play that remains unparalleled in terms of professional acting and the mighty stage of the natural ambiance and atmosphere at the old castle. WOW – a true must-see event in your cultural calendar of events when exploring the Burgenland!

 

 

Last but not least, we go on to explore Forchtenstein Palace near Eisenstadt in the BURGENland: It is all about Nile crocodiles, weapon depots & walls fortified here!

They must always have had their sense of adventure here in the Burgenland. As much as Bernstein Palace has brought about the international desert explorer Ládislaus Almásy, entering the “Inner Sanctuum” of the Forchtenstein Palace has us meet a real dangling crocodile, stuffed & hanging from a chain high above its entrance gates. Of course, once only the noble people would have been allowed to see it after passing over the mighty tow-bridge and entering into the fortified palace. Today, though, all (international) visitors such as us are allowed to conquer the palace (and see the crocodile), where we learn all there is to know about the rule of the third noble family from Burgenland, the Esterházy.

Looking at Burg Forchtenstein ...

Looking at Burg Forchtenstein …

 

... could you guess that a real stuffed Nile crocodile is there to greet you upon entering?! ;)

… could you guess that a real stuffed Nile crocodile is there to greet you upon entering?! 😉

 

We check out the mighty inside of the fortified palace, such as this beautiful inner courtyard ...

We check out the mighty inside of the fortified palace, such as this beautiful inner courtyard …

 

... as well as the weapons depot and secret cellar (trap) doors of the Esterházy family ...

… as well as the weapons depot and secret cellar (trap) doors of the Esterházy family …

 

... all the way to treasure chests with precious craftwork such as this one ...

… all the way to treasure chests with precious craftwork such as this one …

 

... and accounting paper work during the Middle Ages (!) ...

… and accounting paper work during the Middle Ages (!) …

 

... while ultimately landing in the kitchen: Here, food had to be prepared day and night for large hunting parties and important meetings among the nobility of the time!

… while ultimately landing in the kitchen: Here, food had to be prepared day and night for large hunting parties and important meetings among the nobility of the time!

 

The weapons department is quite stunning, too, although all of this warfare is a bit too much for my liking ...

The weapons department is quite stunning, too, although all of this warfare is a bit too much for my liking …

 

... I am glad I get to end this visit with a sunny shot outside the fortified walls of Forchtenstein palace, taking in the relaxed, peaceful atmosphere of today.

… I am glad I get to end this visit with a sunny shot outside the fortified walls of Forchtenstein palace, taking in the relaxed, peaceful atmosphere of today.

 

Check out even more pictures & travel moments of our adventurous journey of conquering the BURGENland here. In my next article, I will tell you even more travel tales of truly excellent hosts from Burgenland: Stay tuned!

My dear friends & colleagues have also published the following stories and photographs about the Burgenland:

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited on this trip discovering the BURGENland. All opinions are my own.

Spread the love

Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
Travel Trade Show "ReiseSalon": Austrian Travel Blogger Meet-up & Tripadvisor Travel Talks
Burgenland Travel Tales: Meet & Greet the (real) Burgenland!

0 Comments

Leave a Reply


Follow me on my travels: