History begins to emerge from the past.

Roman Herzog

The turbulent history of Tratzberg Castle

What began more than 500 years ago as a small “fortress” has developed into one of the most beautiful and best-preserved Renaissance castles in Austria. Tratzberg Castle changed hands many times, suffered many blows of fate and was constantly expanded. Today, Tratzberg Castle is one of the few castles that is still privately owned and even serves as the residence of the Count Goëss-Enzenberg family.

The Renaissance jewel among Austria's castles and palaces

Tratzberg Castle was first mentioned in documents in the 13th century and served as a former border fortress against Bavaria. Emperor Maximilian used Tratzberg as a hunting lodge, but the original fortress was completely destroyed by fire in 1492.

The emperor did not rebuild Tratzberg but exchanged the ruins for a castle belonging to the rich silver mine owners Tänzel. In 1500, they built the first late Gothic part of today’s Tratzberg Castle in an unusually splendid, lavish manner and had it decorated with extraordinarily ornate marble, wood and ironwork.

In 1554, the wealthy Augsburg merchant Georg Ritter von Ilsung acquired the castle and expanded and altered Tratzberg in the spirit of the Renaissance.

In the course of the inheritance, Tratzberg became the property of the well-known and wealthy Fugger merchant family, who further furnished the castle. The splendidly painted inner courtyard and most of the furnishings that have been preserved to this day, as well as exquisite Renaissance rooms, date from this period.

After several changes of ownership, a period followed in which Tratzberg remained uninhabited for almost 150 years. Through the marriage of Franz Count Enzenberg to Ottilie Countess Tannenberg, the now almost neglected castle passed into the possession of the Counts Enzenberg in 1847, whose private residence it remains to this day.

To this day, it is only thanks to the great commitment of the family that the approx. 6800 square metre Tratzberg, with its 5000 square metre shingle roof, has once again become the epitome of a 16th century Tyrolean castle and thus one of the most important art and cultural monuments in the country and is open to the general public for viewing.

The Counts Goëss & Enzenberg

Two great names of the Austrian K & K Monarchy have united in the present lord of the castle: the dynasty of the Counts Goëss, originally from Portugal, and the dynasty of the Counts Enzenberg, which has found its place in Austrian history above all through its military activities.

Ulrich und Kathrin Goëss-Enzenberg

In the past, the Counts Goëss always held important political offices due to their close ties to the imperial house. One example of this is Johann Count Goëss, who as a close advisor to Emperor Leopold I (1658-1705) negotiated the peace treaty around Constantinople. Later, the emperor sent his confidant, who by now held the cardinalate, to the Vatican to exercise the emperor’s right of veto in papal elections. Subsequently, three more Counts Goëss became governors of Carinthia.

The Counts of Enzenberg were among the most influential count families of their time in Inner Austria. One example of this is Franz Count Enzenberg, godson and confidant of Empress Maria-Theresa, who, as a result of clever negotiations with Napoleon Bonaparte, prevented the destruction and plundering of Carinthia in 1797.

Today's owner of Tratzberg Castle

Count Ulrich Goëss-Enzenberg, who is himself a descendant of Empress Maria-Theresia through his grandmother, Countess Marie von Meran, studied business administration. In the fifth generation, he received the extensive Tyrolean inheritance from his mother’s brother, Count Georg Enzenberg and his wife Elisabeth Princess Esterhazy. The latter continued his family’s renovation work, which had now lasted for over 150 years. Together with his wife Katrin, Ulrich has since opened the “Sleeping Beauty” castle to culture lovers and tourists and runs it like a modern business enterprise. Today, he lives permanently at Tratzberg with his 1st generation family.

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