The Clam Castle is one of the oldest castles in Upper Austria; it was built in1149 by Otto von Machland at a time when the forests of the Machlandviertel area, now known as Unteres Mühlviertel, were being cleared. At the time, the castle consisted of a five-storey palas (residential tower) with a distinctive stepped gable and a bergfried (round tower). These 40 m tall buildings are visible from afar due to their exposed position on the granite massif above the Klamschlucht gorge.
Adelheid von Machland brought the castle into her marriage as a dowry to her husband, Count Hermann von Velburg. His ancestral branch was named after the Clam Castle since then.
1218 Count Ulrich von Clam-Velburg died in the 5th Crusade to Egypt. This resulted in his three castles (Clam, Klingenberg, and Ruttenstein) being passed over to the provincial prince, Duke of Babenberg Leopold VI on the basis of an inheritance contract.
From that time, the Clam Castle was the fief of the provincial prince and was given to the Houses of Holzer and Hauser in 1234 (1413) and to Christoph von Zinzendorf.
In the early 14th century, the bergfried and palas were raised, and a fortification wall was built in the east. 1416 Gilg von Wolfstein bought the castle. He had the Gothic castle chapel built. 1480 after the death of Wolfgang von Wolfstein, the estate was transferred to Jörg Seusenecker, then in 1493 to Siegmund and Heinrich Prüschenk (later Count of Hardegg).
Their foster parent, Stefan Perger, became the founder of the Clam-Martinic family and acquired the castlein 1524. The Counts of Clam are thus an ancient Austrian nobility. Clam Castle has now been owned by this family for around 550 years. Since 2003, the lord of the castle has been Carl Philip Clam-Martinic.
Points of interest
Clam Castle is one of Austria's best preserved and oldest castles. First you enter the large outer castle courtyard. Passing around the farm buildings and stables, the visitor reaches one of the four castle gates that were secured by drawbridges in earlier times. After overcoming these medieval defenses, the visitor is met with the impressive beauty of the arcade courtyard. The arcades and sgraffito testify to the structural changes in the Renaissance at the end of the 16th century. The spiral staircase leads to the Gothic castle chapel, which is still in use. Passing the halberds, swords, and rifles, the path leads us to the bell tower where we can admire the porcelain collection. In the 12th-century palas, you can inspect historic chambers, the large ceremonial hall, and portraits of the more renowned personalities of the Clam-Martinic family.
Once a pretty fairy lived in the deep woods. Anyone who saw her, however, had to die, but one day a young knight decided that he had to see the scene, even if it cost him his
life. He went to the deep woods around his parents' castle at night. At full moon he saw a beautiful view. A young woman of supernatural beauty with long golden hair and shiny white body bathed
in a stream of water. The boy has fallen in love with her immediately. Dismayed by this look he could not keep his eyes off. However, she has seen him and pronounced the fatal verdict. The boy
replied that he resigned himself to this fate, because he can not see anything beautiful anywhere in the world, even if he lived a thousand years. The ferry has had pity on the boy and has
mitigated the punishment. The boy becomes a deer and he will always walk loyally by the side. The landlord's family then sought the youngest son for a long time unsuccessfully. When the stag
died, the fairy has kept his antlers, and in the dream has visited his eldest brother and betrayed to him the fate of his younger brother. Since then, the gentlemen of Clam have a fairy with
antlers in their arms.
The historical truth, however: A virgin with antlers heraldically represents a castle that was never conquered and the romantic legend of this unusual element in the coat of arms was invented only later in the 19th century.
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