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Aggstein Ruins

sunny

It's no matter if you hiking, driving or enjoy the water-way in Wachau, you can not miss widely visible landmark: jagged silhouette of the castle at the top of the emerald-green, forested mountain.
It looks very dramatic.
Normal and immediate response: "Look, look!" and you are poinitng and grabbing the camera.
In the photo fairytale castle looks ridiculously small and blury - photographed against the light. But it still very beautiful.
This is AGGSTEIN.
I'll skip the photo from the Danube (popular river cruise in Wahau Valey), but want to take you directly into the castle.

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Picking closer you will not be disappointed. The castle sits 300m above the Danube river. It is great size and beautifully restored and there are amazing views from the top.

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Built in around 1200 Aggstein Palace flourished in in 12th and 13th centuries,
then it changed hands and was rebuilt 14th century,
then it was burned down by Ottomans, has bought and revived by the new owners in the 17th century and then, after the death of owners, the castle was seriously neglected. It changed hands also later, during few ages, but already as Aggstein ruin, not an alive castle.

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It is said Aggstein considered impregnable. As a matter of fact, there is no evidence that the castle was ever stormed by direct force. Only other measures, such as starvation from siege, would lead to the conquest of the Castle.

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Do you know what is it on the photo below?

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Right, its the loo. It's the loo in one ot the watchtowers. Soldiers have to be feed well, and how not to do the poo in the post ?
This is destroying our stigmatic view of "grimy and undeveloped Middle Ages". Through a hole in a wooden latrine see magnificent scenery of Wahau Valley.
:-)

Posted by vanessa 06:48 Archived in Austria Tagged ruins castle aggstein ruins_aggstein Comments (0)

Schallaburg Castle

sunny 28 °C

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Schallaburg Castle is a very nice Renaissance castle, in short distance from Melk (shattle is running from Melk train station). There are also garden, exhibitions, restaurant and three walking-paths through the forest, around the castle.

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The main part of the fortress dates back to the Middle Ages but the oldest part is roman ruins and the chapel is Gothic. That is very typical of castles that have managed to be viable and livable for so many hundreds of years. Things get added and changed over time. The castle, as it stands today, was completed in 1572 by the Losensteiner family. It was based on the Italian palazzo style, that was trendy at the time.

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The Losensteiner family had a love of art and the money to back up their passion and the courtyard still shows it. It was the tournament grounds and it is decorated with cantilever stairs and terracotta mosaics. One of the terracotta figures recreates the figure of a woman with the head of a dog, which is famous for legendary stories associated with the castle.

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The gardens, as they are now, in what was the tournament grounds, were refurbished in the 70′s. There are historic roses and Renaissance Apple Orchards and herbs and ornamental trees and bushes. Some herbs are discribed as medical. I guess so - in 15th century all medicine was natural-based.

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They exhibit in the castle temporary shows of very various themes. Right now it is “Golden Byzantium & the Orient”, other one was regards to Napoleon - to show what it was like when Napoleon and his army occupied Schallaburg for a short time, etc.
There are also concerts, events and festivals are running in the Castle.

It's very nice forest road leading from the castle to village

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Posted by vanessa 06:09 Archived in Austria Tagged village garden castle forest schallaburg Comments (0)

In Grein

semi-overcast 22 °C

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Grein is a village in Apper Austria - about 60km from Linz. Well-preserved and quiet, even in high season, Grein is situated on Danube River and many of region bike-pathes going through. It's famous for the historic town theater (1791) and impressive Greinburg castle on the hill above.

THEATRE
That info that I found about the theatre. Unfortunatelly I only was in the lobby and didn't have time to visit it inside. What a pity!
"...The historic town theater of Grein (1791) is one of the outstanding sights of European importance. Here you can see many curiosities from olden times. Original seats that had to be locked/unlocked with a small key; a toilet that was separated from the auditorium only with a curtain; a prison from where the prisoners could watch the performances and were given food, drinks and tobacco by the audience; the Napoleon box and a lot more."

GREINBURG CASTLE

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Deers near the schloss.

Greinburg is the oldest residential castle of Austria (was built from 1500 to 1700), and proudly save history of Dukes that lived and ruled there. It's interesting museum inside, but building itself even more impressive. : late Renaissance courtyard full of light, various rooms, arches, windows, painted ceilings, narror steps and wide balconies, beautiful furniture and art objects, etc.

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But at the end of the courtyard, few steps down, here is Sala Terrena, which is refreshing surprise. This grotto room is unique in Austria as one of the earliest examples of such an interior room north of the Alps. Outstanding and unusual, very spacious room(s), all covered with figurative and ornamental mosaics, all made from Danube pebbles (riverstones).

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Most of mosaics are monochrome, made in tones of gray, but here and there they flash with red pach or black line.
Beautiful. Guess when Sala Terrena was built?

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From the castle we stepped down to the town (3,500 citizents - counted as a village or town?)

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Oh, that's very sweet!
Many beautiful buildings, greenery and no crowd except of group on bicycles.

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There r lovely Central Square and famous old theatre

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Street barometr - for comfort of citizents, here and still works since 19th century.
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church,

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and other signs. Between cafes and souvenir shops (standard crap to lure tourists) - it was something else that caught my eye.

It was a small shop of crafts that sold goods and souvenirs producted by ppl with special needs. When we entered - we seen them inside, working, because it's also workshop there. They were excited by appearance of visitors and watched us with interest. Most of these people are very uncovered emotionaly, just like kids, so I could see how pleasured they were when we made a choice and purchased semitransperent scarf in colors of autumn. I didn't take any photos inside as was not sure if it was ethical, but may be I should do.

Later, walking in the street, we seen cafe and bakery, where those people worked. They looked happy being involved in real production. I think community of Grein doing great thing, making it possible. I'm sure that behind of it - there is an organisation and professionals who help, but also citizents (don't forget that it's just a village!) need a heart to accept this everyday involve and interraction.

Posted by vanessa 05:43 Archived in Austria Tagged danube castle schloss dawn grein autism upper_austria special_needs Comments (1)

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