RS schloss weissenstein bei matrei
RS schloss weissenstein bei matrei

Weissenstein Castle

Weissenstein Castle in Matrei in East Tyrol was – as the Kienburg and Lengberg castles - in the possession of the Counts of Lechsgemünde.

Just at the Felbertauern Road, north of Matrei in Osttirol, Weissenstein Castle dominates the valley basin. The castle complex dates back to the 12th century and received it's present name in the 14th century, probably from the steep Dolomite marble rock on which it is located. Until then it was called Matrey Castle. Around 1470, Leonhard von Keutschach expanded the castle and strengthened the fortifications. After the administration was relocated to the village of Matrei, the property decayed and was partly used as a poorhouse.

Its current shape has been characterised by renovations in the 19th century: in 1864 it was restored based on the models of English castles of the historicism with a gorgeous castle park. Shortly afterwards it was rebuilt into a romantic château and used as a plush hotel before it was sold on in 1921. Originally Weissenstein Castle (the name means "White stone" in German language) consisted of three towers and a curtain wall with chapel, palas and kitchen wing. The oldest part is the Seinzgerturm tower, once a prison.

Of particular note is the Laurentius Chapel with its beautiful frescoes on the external wall, done by Simon von Taisten. Its valuable inventory was stolen in the 17th century. In 2016, interior spaces of the castle were devastated by vandals. Today, Weissenstein Castle is in private possession and can only be viewed from outside. The beautiful château park is widely known.

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