Eferding near Linz:
One of Austria′s Oldest Cities
Eferding is a town in Upper Austria, not far from the provincial capital Linz, and considered to be the third-oldest city of Austria. This refers to the official declaration of city statutes and the appropriate privileges, which were passed upon Eferding in 1212. So it′s not all that old, really. Beyond its past, Eferding doesn′t have much to shout about.
It is a county town, but with a population of only some 3,500 people (most of them Upper Austrians), its fame as a city is somewhat undermined by the current role it plays. Many people in Eferding commute to Linz; international visitors rarely make it there. If they do, they usually come via the "Donauradweg", a cycling route along the Danube which passes Eferding.
There are several attractions that Eferding has to offer, usually in the scale of typical historic market towns in Austria: Note the "G′schichtnweg" or "Tale Route" - an approach to Eferding′s history through anecdotes, arranged along a hiking path. Interesting is the "Eferdinger Dom" (Eferding Cathedral, in fact just a large parish church and clearly not a cathedral). The Stadtpfarrkirche (that′s the official name) of Eferding was built between 1451 and 1505, has three main naves and is well-known for its two-branched corkscrew stairs leading to the choir stalls.
Starhemberg Palace of Eferding
Another key-attraction of Eferding is Schloss Starhemberg. The palace with the Baroque fašade was built on the site of a previous castle; the castle can be traced back to 1167. The foundation of today′s Schloss Starhemberg date back to the 13th century, in 1559, it was sold to the Starhembergs. The palace is the official "headquarter" of the head of the Starhemberg family until today; see also my article on Palais Starhemberg in Vienna.
The Starhembergs were one of the most distinguished families in the Habsburg Empire and are fondly remembered for the role Count Rüdiger von Starhemberg played in the defence of Vienna during the Second Turkish Siege of 1683. There are two museums inside Schloss Starhemberg in Eferding: One dedicated to the Starhemberg family ("Fürstlich Starhembergisches Familienmuseum"); the other one being the town museum.
The claim to fame of the former one is the table on which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart supposedly composed "The Magic Flute". Schloss Starhemberg can be found on the northern edge of Eferding′s old market square, just between the Stadtpfarrkirche and the old ditch that once surrounded the city. Schloss Starhemberg come with a neat park which is open to the general public.
Other Attractions of Eferding
The town square is equipped with a Pestsäule or Trinity Column. Note the many attractive burgher houses that create a nice "frame" around this core of Eferding. Note especially the Lebzelterhaus, a combination of two Gothic burgher houses that were linked through a Baroque fašade.
Another thing worth noting in Eferding is the Spitalskirche church and the Schifer′sches Erbstift. The latter was a hospital founded by a local nobleman, which took care of poor sick people and old people of Eferding. The Spitalskirche church was built in 1325 as part of the hospital. Note the tower, which is incorporated into the front fašade. The Magdalenenkapelle is known for its vaulting and frescoes.
If that wasn′t enough churches for you, do note the Lutheran church ("Evangelische Kirche"). It was built between 1830 and 1833, at a time when non-Catholic churches were allowed to be built only if one couldn′t recognise them as religious buildings from outside. The church is three floors high and does not bear a tower to accommodate these regulations.
Back to: "Upper Austria Sightseeing Guide"