Many legends and myths about armoured knights and fire-spitting dragons are woven around Kienburg Castle in East Tyrol.
Image gallery: Kienburg Castle Ruin
Between Huben and St. Johann im Walde, in the municipality of Matrei, the early medieval Kienburg is located. Its name derives from the old German term for "kühn", that's to say bold, or from Archbishop Erich Kuenburg, one of its owners. It is a hill castle, located in the forest above the Iseltal valley and mentioned for the first time around 1000 AD.
The castle had a key position in the trade of the Iseltal, Defereggental and Kalsertal valleys. Once, the mighty Earls of Lechsgemünde inhabited the castle, in the following centuries, it was witness and centre of fight and devastation. Among the owners there were the Bishopric of Salzburg and Knight Earl Christoph von Kienburg, its last inhabitant when it was destroyed by a fire in 1579. In 1945, an American aerial bomb destroyed most of the still existing walls.
Currently, the Kienburg Castle Ruin is being renovated: It is in private hands, the surrounding is a restricted archaeological area. One of the buildings below the castle is the Kienburg Hay Bath, known as a cure against skin and respiratory diseases. And still today, several legends grow around the once mighty castle. One of them tells about a young shepherd able to rescue the daughter of the last knight from a dragon - if he is able to take the key to a hidden cellar from the dragon's mouth. It is said that the key opens the door to an immeasurable treasure...
Not accessible to the public (the ruin is currently being renovated).