Castle in the Air


As we left Goldegg and followed the Salzach River downhill into the valley, a majestic sight unfolded beyond the car’s windshield like a fairytale setting. Green meadows spreading across the valley floor, mountains reaching into the blue, and a castle in the air shining like a gem under the sun. The Hohen Werfen Fortress. One can reach this high-altitude stronghold by foot climbing up the steep hill it sits on or by getting into the panoramic cable car. We opted for the former. As I paused before the fortification’s main gate after a 20 minute arduous ascent, I wondered how in the world anybody could drag stones, timbers and canons up this rock. After laboring up a few more inclines and several flights of stairs, we caught our breaths in the courtyard over coffee and sparkling Almdudler. Touring the medieval castle, which was built by the Salzburg ruler Archbishop Gebhard in the 11th century and completed after 400 years, we got a snapshot into the privileged lives of knights and noblemen. As we ducked our heads, walking and climbing behind our swift tour guide up narrow staircases and down into the castle’s dungeon and torture chamber, I saw people shake their heads to the horror tales coming to life in these dark corners. According to our guide, the reformation brought about a peasant revolt when looting and rioting farmers stood up to the Catholic bishops and their followers who ruled the land. Captured Protestants who refused to accept Catholicism were tortured and suffered unimaginable cruelty within these mighty walls. Back in the courtyard, looking up at one of the watchtowers, I reflected on the times we live in and the freedom we take for granted. We can think, say and belief what we want. But why is it that so many people have to suffer and perish along the way for things to change? I guess we will never know but I am grateful that mankind has come into the light since the castle’s first watchtower was built 900 years ago.


About Christiane Von Linz

Christiane Von Linz, a native of Austria, is a world traveler, musician, educator, and the author of the popular Blog,, reaching a world wide audience in 90 countries. From 1981-1986, her love of travel propelled Christiane and her sister as the duo Evita & Christina on a singing adventure across Africa, Asia, and Arabia, before settling in the United States with her husband Bob. Christiane currently divides her time between Long Beach, California, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Linz, Austria.

One response »

  1. Such beautiful pictures!! I love the castle stories, reminds me of my trip thru Ireland, visiting some of the castles there! Enjoy your journey and continue sharing with us as you go. Love you.

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