Mauterndorf im Lungau (Salzburg state), AUSTRIA
Mauterndorf Castle (Burg Mauterndorf in German language), located at an altitude of 1,138 metres in the municipality of Mauterndorf, in Lungau, the southernmors region in the Austrian state of Salzburg, was once a major toll station and gave the town its name.
The today castle and settlement were built on the site of a former Roman fort (castrum) dating back to the 4th century AD or earlier, and aimed to protect the Roman mountain road over the Tauern mountains, leading from Teurnia to Iuvavum (present-day Salzburg) via the Radstädter Tauern Pass. Mauterndorf Castle is one of three surviving toll stations along the "Via Imperialis", the ancient Roman north-south trade route, along which various valuable goods made their way over centuries, including commodities such as salt, loden material, wheat, wine and spices. The fort, which was then destroyed during the Migration Period, served then also as a residence for the Roman governor of the Noricum province (the Latin name for a Celtic kingdom, or federation of twelve tribes, including most of modern Austria and part of Slovenia).
Later on a medieval castle was built on the same site, funded and supported by a toll (maut in German) station, as witnessed by a deed gift issued by Emperor Henry II in the year 1002. There was no way of avoiding the toll duties and everyone had to pass through Mauterndorf Castle, since the main road led straight to the castle courtyard through the toll gate, where tolls were collected from road users. The sundial over the main gate greeted traders, scoundrels and travelers on their journey across the Alps.
Mauterndorf Castle was then acquired by the Salzburg archbishops in 1023, who ceded the inhabitants market rights in 1217. The construction of the stronghold started at the beginning of the 13th century to protect the town market, while during the 15th century, under the rule of the archbishops Burkhard Weisbriach and Leonhard von Keutschach, the castle was significantly enlarged to reach its today appearance, and became a summer residence of the Salzburg's Prince Bishops who got much fascinated by the extraordinary beautiful natural landscape and the fresh air. The toll system on the Radtsädter Tauern Pass road supported the castle and village until in 1803 when the toll collection was abandoned during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1806 the castle became a possession of the Austrian state. In 1894 the castle was purchased by Hermann Epenstein (1851–1934), a German physician, who served as an Prussian Army surgeon in Berlin. He refurbished and restored the decayed castle with great effort for use as a residence. Since 1968 the building is owned by the state of Salzburg, a castle museum has been established in 2003.
Today the castle is a regional centre of cultural interest and offers a wide range of activities and sights for adults and children. The place where once travellers paid their toll is now the starting point to enter the world of yesteryear with the halls, chambers, vaults and private rooms making history tangible and alive for the modern visitors. One of the highlights of the tour is the 700 years old and 44 metres high watch and defence tower, a real unicum in Europe in its design and with the floors authentically portraying the uses of the tower in the past, including the weaponry and ammunition depots, the living area with a cooking facility, a food store room, emergency quarters and a rest place for the guards and inhabitants. besides the sixth floor provides a breathtaking 360° view of the Lungau region.
The visitors can enjoy interactive activities and tours with costumed guides and get to know the master of the castle, the Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach, and his entourage thanks to life-size models portraying historical characters in authentic period clothes and the daily life in a late medieval castle with the typical chores and customs. The visitors have also the chance to try out period clothing and the bed in the private quarters of the archbishop.
The castle offers as well a cosy restaurant tavern with excellent catering and historical cuisine, lots of playful activities for children and a large medieval games area, and, last but not least, is home to several cultural and historical events, thus making it an ideal destination for daily trips for the whole family. The visit of Mauterndorf castle includes as well the Lungau country museum (Lungau Landschaftsmuseum), which provides the chance to discover fascinating facts about the history, the people, the life and the customs of this alpine region. Finally every year in July the castle together with Mauterndorf downtown becomes the perfect setting for the great Medieval Festival (please visit our dedicated page to find out more, click here).
Info & Contact
Salzburger Burgen & Schlösser
Address: Mönchsberg 34, 5020 Salzburg
Address: Burg Mauterndorf Verwaltung, 5570 Mauterndorf, Austria
Tel.: +43 (0) 6472/7426
Fax: +43 (0) 6472/7426-22
Mauterndorf Tourist Information Office Lungau, Salzburgerland
Address: Markt 52, 5570 Mauterndorf, Austria
Tel.: +43 (0) 6472 7949
Fax: +43 (0) 6472 794927
Mauterndorf Town Council / Marktgemeinde Mauterndorf
Address: Markt 52, 5570 Mauterndorf, Austria
Castle Tavern / Burgschenke Mauterndorf - Gerhard Pfeifer
Address: 5570 Mauterndorf 27, Austria
Tel/Fax: +43 0 6472/7294
Mob.: +43 0664/11 32 925
Mauterndorf on Google Maps:
Exploring Mauterndorf and the Lungau region: