Unterdürnbach Castle

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Unterdürnbach Castle

Ground plan of the castle

Unterdürnbach Castle is a two-storey baroque castle from the late Renaissance on the southeastern edge of the cadastral municipality of Unterdürnbach in the municipality of Maissau in the district of Hollabrunn in Lower Austria.

The castle and the buildings of the former farmyard adjoining to the west are listed monuments (listed entries).


Until 1644

Nothing is known about the beginnings of the castle. In the middle of the 12th century there is the first documentary mention of a stronghold of the lords of Durrinbach[1] and from the year 1531 the sale of a castle is documented, which may have originated from this fortified house. The buyer was Melchior Hohberg, who remodelled the moated castle. The ornate rectangular portal to a cellar exit, which bears the date 1556, dates from this time.

Georg Bayr appears as the next owner, who had leased the imperial key office in Krems on the Danube and applied for knighthood in 1575. He was married to Anna von Concin, the widow of Johann Friedrich Fernberger von Eggenburg, whose daughter Magdalena from her first marriage died in 1585 and was buried in Unterdürnbach. Her marble tombstone is preserved in the parish church of Unterdürnbach. An unspecified addition to the castle took place under Georg Bayr in 1578.

After the death of Georg Bayr in 1597, his son Georg Ehrenreich Bayr followed and from 1613 Georg Leo Bayr, who however died already in 1615.

Subsequent inheritance disputes brought Rudolf von Innpruck into possession of the castle. His wife was a née Hohberg, which enabled him to successfully assert inheritance claims.[2]

From 1644

Lilienfeld/Peckenstorfer coat of arms cartouche on the main portal to the farmyard

In the first half of the 17th century, the indebted estates were publicly offered for sale by the Lower Austrian estates, and Lilienfeld Abbey bought the entire manor of Unterdürnbach in 1644 for 21,361 gulden. Only in 1721 the sale was perfect, after the monastery had satisfied announced hereditary claims through compensation payments.[2]

Under Abbot Dominik Peckenstorfer, the moated castle was rebuilt from 1747 to 1757 into the present structure with its Baroque structured façade, columned courtyard and large halls on the upper floor. The abbot’s coat of arms is placed outside at the entrance to the castle courtyard. The castle housed the offices of the lordship administration and the living quarters of the priestly administrator. From here the possessions of the monastery in Stratzing, Radlbrunn (parish of Ziersdorf), Roseldorf (parish of Sitzendorf) and Grafenberg (parish of Straning-Grafenberg) were administered. From here also those administrative tasks were carried out which, after the liberation of the peasants from hereditary servitude as of September 1848, had to be performed by the district governors[3] were taken over by the district authorities and district courts.

Unterdürnbach Castle on an engraving by Vischer

In 1809 there was a major fire. A tower, which can still be seen on an engraving by Georg Matthäus Vischer, was not rebuilt.

Until 1970, the estate in Unterdürnbach was owned by the Lilienfeld Monastery. Then the approximately 100 hectares of farmland were sold to farmers from Unterdürnbach and Frauendorf (municipality of Sitzendorf an der Schmida). The extensive farm buildings in front of the castle also came into the possession of a local farmer.[2]

Today the castle is used as a parsonage. In summer, concerts are held in the arcaded courtyard and in the monkey hall.

Building specification


West and north wing of the farmyard

To the west of the castle is a spacious three-winged courtyard with one- to two-storey wings. The buildings are mainly from the second half of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century.

The north wing with a late Baroque flap structure has a late Baroque representative columned portal with a curved pointed gable from the third quarter of the 18th century with a coat of arms cartouche ” Stift Lilienfeld/Dominik Peckenstorfer” and a Biedermeier wooden gate from the second quarter of the 19th century. The courtyard-side façade has portal and window jambs from the 17th century as well as a central risalit with local stone integration. The windows on the ground floor are arched over on the inside with lancet caps.

The façade of the west wing is divided by giant pilasters, the round-arched passageway has a barrel vault with plastered cross ridges. Inside there are also barrel vaults.

A chamfered 16th-century round-arched cellar doorway is in the south wing. In the interior of this wing there are partly Platzl vaults from the 18th century.[1]



The two-storey, four-winged building is surrounded by a moat and, to the south and east, by an originally fortified outer wall with round, bastion-like corner turrets dating from the late 16th century.[1] The southeastern turret has been converted into a baroque pavilion.

The façade has a late Baroque blind frame division by giant pilasters and in the window axes a grid-shaped division with mid-18th century pelmet motifs. The ground-floor windows have leaded-glass sashes and are fitted with Baroque window baskets. Those on the upper floor have cornice roofs and window cills dating from the second half of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century. A circumferential fluted eaves cornice forms the upper facade finish.

The moulded round-arched doorway on the west facade probably dates from the early 18th century,[1] the entrance is closed by a wide groined vault.

The two-storey columned arcaded courtyard has 16th century groined vaults. One column has an acanthus capital. On the east side of the courtyard is a recessed cellar doorway with a rectangular portal. This portal has a floral relief jamb inscribed “1556”.


Stitch caps on the ground floor

The ground floor rooms are vaulted with wide barrel vaults and 16th-century lancets, and Baroque lancet vaults from the mid-18th century. The rectangular stone door jambs are delicately grooved.

In the north wing is a barrel-vaulted chapel with stave caps, which was intended as a place of worship for the spiritual estate administrator and in which the weekday services of the parish of Unterdürnbach are held today.[2]

The staircase to the upper floor has a baluster railing, the rooms of the upper floor have simple stucco ceilings and partly polychromed plaster mirrors. One room has a wide stab cap vault from the 18th century.


In the former Knights’ Hall (now called the “Monkey Hall” after five monkeys in the wall painting[2]) there are wall paintings depicting exotic animals and landscapes from the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. In one corner there is a baroque tiled stove with ribbonwork decoration from the middle of the 18th century, which could be heated from the corridor. Carved into one of the hand-blown window panes are the words “Richter, Geschworene, Spitzbuben” (judges, jurors, rogues), suggesting that the room was used as a medieval courtroom.

One room, which had served as a bedroom, has wall paintings inscribed with “Johann Oswald fecit“.

In the cartouche of a curved stucco mirror in the former prelate’s hall (today the “Bilderzimmer“) is the coat of arms of Abbot Dominik Peckenstorfer. Wall paintings in geometric fields in this room show representations of the possessions of Lilienfeld Abbey surrounded by genre paintings.

In the opposite piano room there is another baroque tiled stove with ribbonwork decoration from the middle of the 18th century. In another room there is another tiled stove with Empire decoration from the first half of the 19th century.

The ceiling of the dining room has a realistic painting, which gives the impression of a real wooden ceiling.

The shelves of the archives contain remnants of the holdings of files and documents of the former manor. In 1848, parts of the entire inventory had to be handed over, which today are partly in the Lower Austrian Provincial Archives in St. Pölten and partly in the branch office in Bad Pirawarth. Part of the inventory has not yet been sifted through and researched.[2]

The chapel contains a Baroque sarcophagus altar with a reredos structure and rocaille decoration. The altarpiece from the middle of the 18th century, which is flanked by gilded statues of St. Joseph and St. Joachim, shows Anna Selbdritt with an image of grace. To the side are figures of the Madonna from 1607 and St Joseph with Child from the 17th century. On the left wall hangs an image of Jesus[1][2]

See also

  • List of listed objects in Maissau


  • Dehio-Handbook. The art monuments of Austria. Lower Austria north of the Danube. Edited by Evelyn Benesch, Bernd Euler-Rolle et al. Publisher Anton Schroll & Co, Vienna 1990, ISBN 3-7031-0652-2, p. 1195 f.
  • “The castle Unterdürnbach” compiled by Father Dr. Edmund Tanzer (Parish Unterdürnbach)
  • Castlesand fortresses, booklet 3 of the series Das Weinviertel, self-published by Kulturbund Weinviertel, Mistelbach 1979

Web links

Commons: Unterdürnbach Castle– Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. a b c d e Dehio p. 1195
  2. a b c d e f g Tanzer: “Unterdürnbach Castle”
  3. See also German Revolution 1848/1849#Austria

Coordinates 48° 34′ 35″ N, 15° 52′ 31″ O