Raabs Castle

A picture-book castle high above the Thaya River – the perfect excursion destination!

Raabs Castle (German: Burg Raabs), one of Austria’s oldest fortified stone castles, is enthroned high above the confluence of the Moravian Thaya with the Austrian Thaya. It sits atop sheer rock walls, towering over the town below. Standing on the castle terrace is like being on the bow of a ship sailing far into the past. What events might have transpired here, what tales can be found within these ancient walls?

Strong as rock

This castle was a stronghold against all attacks from the north. The etymological origins of its name already underscore the significance of this castle. Castrum Rakouz was so important for Bohemia that it was named after Rakousko, the Czech and Slovak name for Austria as a whole. In the 11th through the 13th centuries, the castle and town at the confluence of the Moravian Thaya with the Austrian Thaya formed the center of a so-called royal district. In 1183, Albrecht I of Austria gave the castle in Raabs in pledge to his Field Marshal Heinrich of Maissau. Then the fortification and domain were passed to the Puchheims, in whose hands they remained for nearly three and a half centuries. In 1386, Duke Rudolf IV bore the title Count zu Ragtz. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Puchheims enlarged the stronghold in Gothic style, transforming the medieval fortress into a castle. Lords of the castle in the 18th c, including the Barons of Bartenstein, added additional castle-like components to the structure. Today, Raabs is among Austria’s most significant castles in terms of general history and in terms of the history of architecture and settlement. You can get an idea of this residential castle on the promontory in Raabs from the Schallaburg, whose foundation walls are still fully preserved.

Exceptional medieval architecture

The multi-story castle extends across the entire breadth of the rock promontory, giving it a foundation 21 meters by 12.30 meters in size. A chapel rises above the highest crag and the small ensemble on the attack side is protected by the pentagonal keep. The old fortification was integrated into the later castle structure. The Romanesque chapel on the crag was built-over with only its foundation walls being preserved. You enter the castle through a bailey with Renaissance arcades. The large and small knight’s halls are in the main castle. The view from the narrow terrace is fascinating. From this platform on the castle wall high above the town of Raabs, you can see the confluence of the Austrian Thaya with the Moravian Thaya. For a few minutes you feel like a ship captain.

Books and poets

Today, the castle in Raabs is owned by the publisher Richard Pils and his family. His publishing firm is called Bibliothek der Provinz (library of the province) and has won numerous awards. It provides a professional home to edgy writers such as Herbert Achternbusch or Sepp Dressinger. For over two decades, the poets festival held here every August has been attracting bibliophiles and culture lovers to enter these ancient walls. However, the events calendar is not only interesting for bookworms. It also features castle concerts, festivals and musical castle tours.

Tip: Kollmitz ruin
There is another place of interest just an hour’s walk away: Kollmitz, one of the largest ruins in Austria. The hike on the marked trail to this once formidable fortification is well worth the effort. Ruins of ancient walls spark the imagination, evoking thoughts about power and courage, victory and defeat. This is the perfect backdrop for a bite to eat at Jausenstation Ruine Kollmitz with a magnificent view of the Thaya Valley. You will leave fully re-energized!