Gross Siegharts Castle

A precious Renaissance gem – a blue ribbon destination!

In days long past, ribbon peddlers (“Bandlkramer”) were a common sight in Gross Siegharts and it became the center of Waldviertel Ribbon Peddler Country (“Bandlkramerland”). The 16th c castle is definitely one of the blue ribbon destinations here. The textile museum next door also makes a visit to the town a unique experience, as do the many recreational activities available in the area. Time for a rendezvous in the castle park!

History and tradition at every turn

On the spot where today’s Gross Siegharts Castle (German: Schloss Gross Siegharts) now stands, the nobleman Cotsrelve of Siegharts had a fortification built around 1200 for the Count of Raabs. Over the ensuing centuries, various owners added to the building. During this same period, the town was constantly ravaged by major events in world history such as the Hussite Wars and the Thirty Years’ War – parts of the building were repeatedly reduced to rubble. It was not until the border conflicts ended that the structure was gradually transformed into a castle. Ultimately it served solely as a residence and remained in the hands of nobles for centuries. In 1876, Count Rudolf van der Straaten sold the castle and all its outbuildings to the Leyrers, a married couple engaged in manufacturing. The town purchased the castle 120 years ago and uses it today as the town hall.

Art and architecture with style

The castle was successfully renovated in the 1980s in keeping with its original style – the quadrangular towers with their imposing crenelated crowns have been preserved. The town’s coat-of-arms hangs above the barrel-vaulted passageway leading to the arcade courtyard. The rooms inside have impressive stucco ceilings and mural paintings dating from the years 1634 to 1645. Just a few years ago, frescoes by Carlo Carlone dating back to 1717 were discovered in the former castle chapel, later used as a library and now as the mayor’s office. An art treasure pleasing to the eye and the mind.

Origins of Ribbon Peddler Country

The textile museum presents a chapter of regional history in vivid terms. Around 1920, Johann Christoph Ferdinand Count of Mallenthein set the goal of making the small village that belonged to his dominion a center of the textile industry. In Gross Siegharts, the count had 180 “fabrics houses” built for skilled workers from all over Europe. The ribbons that were produced were sold by ribbon peddlers in the countries of the Danube Monarchy. The region has borne the name Ribbon Peddler Country (“Bandlkramerlandl”) ever since. Interested in a few blue-ribbon experiences yourself?

Great times in the great outdoors

The inviting 30,000 m² castle park offers recreation, fun and relaxation for the whole family: magnificent old trees, a duck pond, a children’s playground and a curling sheet. So this is how the nobility spent their leisure time in bygone days! An outing into the surrounding area is equally charming – the unspoiled, scenic Waldviertel countryside is heavenly tranquil and offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities. They range from the fitness course, the Ribbon Peddler Circuit Trail (German: Bandlkramer Rundwanderweg) throu9h cycling, horse-back riding, fishing and mushroom hunting to canoe trips on the Thaya River. Recreation enthusiasts of all ages are in good hands here – and can just take a deep breath of fresh air and relax in the enchanting scenery of the Waldviertel.