Austria′s most famous Arcades
If you travel from Salzburg to Vienna or the other way round as I have done a lot, you pass by a number of Austria′s finest attractions. Rushing by the Wachau, you can spot three landmarks: The mighty monastery of Melk, the Baroque basilica of pilgrimage Maria Taferl and the Schallaburg Castle. The latter one is one of the most important Renaissance palaces of Austria and has a remarkable arcaded courtyard.
The history of settlements on the current site of the Schallaburg date back to Roman days. The first landlord who owned a castle there was Sieghart von Schala, a count that was murdered in Regensburg in 1104. Soon afterwards, his house became extinct. In 1242, the castle was first referred to as "Fortress of Schala" in a document. From the 13th to the 15th century is was owned by the von Zelking family.
The current, famous look of the castle was added by the next generation of owners, the Counts of Losenstein. They ruled over the Schallaburg from 1450 to 1614. It is their merit that the castle was refurbished and gained one of the most elaborate Renaissance faces of any castle in Austria - alongside with Schloss Ambras Castle near Innsbruck in Tyrol. However, Count Wilhelm von Losenstein screwed things up economically and his heirs had to sell the place to the Counts of Stubenberg. The Stubenbergs now owned it until 1660, when they sold it again - and a longer series of Schallaburg landlords followed.
Renovations & Current Use of the Schallaburg
Under Sir Karl Gustav von Tinti, the Schallaburg was renovated between 1906 and 1908. The Tintis shared the fate of the Losensteins, couldn′t afford the maintenance and in 1940, they sold it to the family von Nagel-Doornik. After the end of WWII, the castle became the property of the Republic of Austria and was later sold to the province of Lower Austria.
Today, it is one of the regions most popular tourist destinations. Lower Austria uses the Schallaburg as a venue for exhibitions. Since the province has quite a good reputation for organising exhibitions ("Landesausstellungen"), it is always worth checking which exhibition is currently on. The castle has a famous courtyard with arcades. The pillars of these arcades are decorated with red terracotta ornaments. This arcaded courtyard is used for theatre performances, concerts and other public events.
Other nearby attractions include another famous castle, the Schloss Artstetten. The towns of Melk and Pöchlarn are close and other attractions of the Wachau (such as Burg Aggstein, Spitz an der Donau, Weissenkirchen, Dürnstein or Krems) as well as the Lower Austrian capital of St Pölten are within reach for those who travel by car.