The castle in Freistadt is not the oldest defense building in the city, but it followed up on the former castle located only 200 m to the west from the time before the city was founded. The former castle existed from 800 and is now known as the “Altenhof” or “Salzhof” (Old Court, or Salt Court). All that’s left of the old castle today is the remains of the tower and several massive foundation walls.
1363-1397 Duke Rudolf IV had a new castle built to strengthen the fortifications in the northeast corner of the city. This castle was often pledged by the Habsburgs to higher nobility, or it was used to secure loans. Some of the owners include the Wallsee from 1290 to the 14th century;
1483 to 1500 it was pledged to the Zelkings, it belonged to Lasla von Prag until 1509, to the Landaus until 1620, and from
1620 Count Leonhard Helfreich von Meggau.
1700 the estate was sold by Emperor Leopold I as an allodium to his highest steward Ferdinand Bonaventura Count Harrach.
1777 the castle was given as a dowry by the grandfather of Rosa Harrach into the ownership of Prince Josef Kinský.
1798 the castle was sold for 5000 guilders to the city of Freistadt. It was later used as a barracks, a military hospital for French soldiers, and a sick-house. 1853 the castle was given as a gift to the public treasury to be used as a military garrison. The Republic of Austria assumed ownership rights on the basis of the “Habsburg Family Law”. The castle barracks existed until 1924.
Today, the castle houses the tax authority and is the seat of the Mühlviertler Castle Museum.
Points of interest
The more impressive part of the castle, and also the symbol of the city, is the Gothic 50 m tall round tower known as the keep, which offers a nice view from the outer castle courtyard. Passing through the late Gothic round arch gate will take you from the outer courtyard to the inner courtyard, which is semi-circular in shape. The Castle Museum is accessible via the covered gallery on the upper floor. Exhibits from eight centuries document the city’s history, ethnography, glass underpaintings, ceramics production, and customs and financial history.
Tel: +43 (0)7956/7304