Some people collect stamps, others coins, yet others again rare editions of books, porcelain figures … you name it. I, on the other hand, collect ruins. How does that work, you ask? Well, castle ruins have fascinated me ever since I was a kid, and I like to visit them whenever I can. I hike up mountains, scramble about stone piles, take pictures and keep track of the places I visit. I read up on the history and collect stories and legends that surround the place. It has a torture chamber? Excellent. Ghost stories? Even better! I do this because I am a history geek and I love to read and write stories. Not least because this is excellent inspiration for my next book…
This is the first blog entry of a series that focuses on Castle Ruins.
There are approximately 324 castles and ruins in varying states of preservation in Upper Austria alone. From where we live, we drive half an hour (or less) in any direction and we’ll inadvertently stumble over a ruin! For a romantic and history geek like me, this is paradise.
Yesterday we visited Schaunberg Ruin, the biggest ruin in Upper Austria. It is a romantic, well-preserved 12th century hilltop castle built by the Counts of Schaunberg, one of the most powerful families in Upper Austria from the 12th to the 16th centuries. Their power and independence was so great that the Hapsburgs decided they needed to curb them: Duke Albert III attempted a siege on the castle in 1380 (“Schaunburger Fehde”); however he wasn’t successful and the castle was never conquered. The Schaunberg line eventually died out and the castle was abandoned and left to deteriorate.
Today, the 32 m high keep, the Palas, living quarters and the church are still standing. The ruin is amazing! You can climb up the fortified tower and have a breathtaking view over the Eferdinger Becken and the Danube.
The Court Linden Tree (Gerichtslinde) below: judicial courts were held outside under this Linden tree. This tree, also known as Schaunberger Linde, was planted in 1402!
Of all the ruins I’ve visited so far -and I have seen many - this is one of my favourites.
©Sofi Laporte 2019