Ruegers Castle

Play lady or lord of the castle for a day – this splendid Baroque structure is looking for new owners.

Ruegers Castle (German: Schloss Ruegers) is nestled in a pond landscape near the Czech border. It used to be called Riegersburg but was renamed to avoid confusion with the property of that name located in the southern Austrian state of Styria. The castle may have an uncertain future but is currently certain to be an impressive experience for anyone who visits it. Seize the opportunity!

From water castle to Baroque gem

The splendid structure was not always a Baroque castle. Everything began back in the Middle Ages with the “Haws zu dem Rugs” – the fortified house of Rüdiger. In 1568, Sigmund Count of Hardegg acquired the fortress, had it converted to a water castle and set up his administrative office and residence there. Debt-ridden, it was sold in 1635 together with Hardegg Castle (German: Schloss Hardegg) and subsequently became the new representative residence of the Princes Khevenmüller in 1730. The castle took on its current form in several phases lasting until 1780 based on plans drawn up by Franz Anton Pilgram, a pupil of Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt. In 1945, it first served as lodgings for expellees from Bohemia. Then occupying Russian forces took up quarters here. Unfortunately, by 1955 little was left of the original furnishings.
Today Ruegers Castle (along with Hardegg Castle) is in the hands of the Counts Pilati von Thassul zu Daxberg. After 290 years of belonging to this family, the property has been up for sale since June 2018.

Being a guest of nobility

Ruegers Castle was built for representational purposes, so it should come as no surprise that grand events continue to be held there. They include a castle festival, a vintage car rally, concerts and special theme guided tours.  The intervening centuries have given rise to several stories that make for exciting guided tours. The guide treats you to an extended tour of the staterooms and private quarters while sharing stories that run the gamut from gruesome to funny to sad. Any castle ghosts along the way? We are not sure but the castle is rumored to be haunted. In any event, the tour is a chance to gain interesting insights into aristocratic life in the country and to learn a great deal about the Baroque era. Another part of the property worth seeing is the historical estate kitchen, the only one of its kind in Austria that is still functional. Art lovers can look forward to an installation by the Czech artist Lubo Kristek. All this variety guarantees a fun and interesting time!

Inside tip for nature enthusiasts

Empress Maria Theresia considered Ruegers Castle a favorite stopover on her trips from Vienna to Prague. If you take a break at the castle café named for the empress, you can understand why. What a relaxing setting. After a stroll through the castle park, you might walk by the lovely castle pond and beyond to the oldest dog cemetery in all of Moravia, Bohemia and Austria. Still yearning for idyllic countryside? Try exploring Thaya Valley National Park. A hike there takes you through one of the most scenic and biodiverse valleys in Austria. There are few other places with a comparable variety of fauna, flora and unforgettable impressions. You feel the miracle of nature here. It is fantastic!