The castle is surrounded by the Berchtesgaden Alps. The fortification is a “sister” of Hohensalzburg Castle, both dating from the 11th century. A fortification was built here between 1075 and 1078 (during the Imperial Investiture Controversy) by Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg as a strategic bulwark. He had three major castles extended to secure his archbishopric against King Henry IV. Gebhard was expelled in 1077 and could not return to Salzburg until 1086, only to die at Hohenwerfen two years later.
In the following centuries Hohenwerfen served Salzburg’s rulers, the prince-archbishops, as a military base, residence and hunting retreat. The fortress was extended in the 12th century and again in the 16th century during the German Peasants’ War. Later it was used as a state prison and like many ecclesiastical prisons developed a particularly sinister reputation.
Hohenwerfen Castle served as the backdrop for the song “Do-Re-Mi” in the film The Sound of Music and as ‘Schloss Adler’ in the 1968 film Where Eagles Dare. Among the attractions offered by the fortress today are guided tours showing its weapons collection, a falconry museum and a fortress tavern.
The castle date from the early 12th century. It is sited below Melk on the right bank of the Danube,
Niederfalkenstein is a castle complex near on the southern slope of the Hohe Tauern mountain range. The fortification was first mentioned as Valchenstain Castle in a deed of 1164. The former fortification of Oberfalkenstein is a ruin, while the lower barbican of Niederfalkenstein (shown here) is preserved.