The sun dial above the gates of Mauterndorf Castle greeted traders, travellers and scoundrels alike on their way over the Alps. The place travellers of past centuries paid their toll is also the point at which today’s visitors enter the world of yesteryear.
Life-size figures, the impressive defence tower and the many imaginatively designed features truly make this lovingly restored castle a "living" museum.
Welcome to Mauterndorf Castle!
In centuries gone by various valuable goods made their way along the old Roman trading routes over the Tauern mountains; commodities such as salt, loden material, wheat, wine and spices. They were treacherous times for the caravan drivers – unpredictable weather, dangerous terrain, thieves and ambushers all made crossing the Alps a risky undertaking and there was no way of avoiding the toll duties charged at Mauterndorf Castle. The path led directly through the toll gate, the existence of which was first documented in 1002 AD.
A museum with an eye for detail
Nowadays the former toll station, used by Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach as a summer residence, offers a wide range of activities and sights. On a tour with an audio guide, visitors encounter life-size models like the archbishop in a hot tub, a group of medieval musicians, and the horse and cart in the courtyard. Mauternburg is one of the three well-preserved toll stations along the famous ‘Via Imperialis’, and also offers fascinating features such as the Lungau country museum, the cosy restaurant tavern, a large medieval games area and several events, making it an ideal destination for outings for the whole family.
Try it on – try it out!
There’s also fun to be had with the medieval attire as visitors are given the opportunity to try out clothing from the Middle Ages. Sense the fear exuded by the cavern cellars, slip into the armour of the knights and load an old musket. There’s even the chance to try out the bed in the private quarters of the archbishop. The 700 year old lookout and defence tower is 44 metres high, unique in Europe in its design and provides a fantastic view of the Lungau region. The uses of the tower in the past are authentically portrayed on the six floors including the weaponry and ammunition depots, the living area with a cooking facility, a food store room, emergency quarters and a place for the guards and inhabitants to relax.
Far from the hustle and bustle of the city yet easily accessible, Mauterndorf Castle in Salzburg´s Lungau region is an art-historical jewel in the middle of a fascinating mountain panorama.
Toll castle dating back to the 13th century
The toll castle dating from the 13th century sits on a rock to the northwest of the town of Mauterndorf.
An exciting journey back in time to the Middle Ages awaits you at Mauterndorf Castle. Meet the lord of the castle, Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach and is entourage.
Your visit will be rounded off with a visit to the Lungau Regional Museum and the 44-meter peel tower with a fascinating view of Mauterndorf and the surrounding mountains.
History of Mauterndorf Castle
As the southernmost region in the province of Salzburg, the Lungau region has a very special appeal to visitors. The extraordinary, pristine landscape also fascinated Salzburg´s archbishops, who occasionally used Mauterndorf Castle as their summer residence.
During the time of the Romans, a central trade route connecting north and south ran across the Hohe Tauern mountains past what is now the town of "Mauterndorf". During the 13th century, Salzburg´s cathedral chapter had Mauterndorf Castle built at the former toll station to protect the market town. The cathedral dean, Burkhard von Weisspriach, and Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach enlarged the fortification during the 15th century.
Mauterndorf Castle remained in the possession of the cathedral chapter and served as its administrative center until 1806, when ownership passed to the government. Increasingly threatened by decay since the beginning of the 19th century, it was purchased by Dr. Hermann von Epenstein, a wealthy military doctor from Berlin, in 1892 and restored at great expense.
The Province of Salzburg purchased the fortification from the Republic of Austria in 1968. The historic building was rehabilitated from 1979 to 1982 at a total cost of 20 million schillings (1,5 million euros).
Today, Mauterndorf Castle is an impressive, historic structure with a rich, historical past. The halls, vaulted cellars and chambers house an adventure exhibit "In the Mood for the Middle Ages" (a journey back to the early 15th century), a regional museum for the Lungau region, a regional culture center and a restaurant.