This living Baroque masterpiece is Austria’s largest rural palace complex. Its splendid palace, unique terraced gardens and idyllic manor farm are inextricably linked to Prince Eugene of Savoy.
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Prince Eugene of Savoy´s private gem is a real insider’s tip. The former hunting lodge is a harmonious combination of the Baroque penchant for display and rustic cosiness.
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History has been made at Schloss Eckartsau, with its enchanting Schlosspark gardens and nearness to the National Park: Emperor Charles I and his family spent the final days of the Habsburg monarchy at this very spot.
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Visitors are astonished and thrilled not only by this castle’s storied past, but by the natural spectacle of the nearly 100 white storks which gather here to breed for several months each year.
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With a documented and lively history going back nearly 1,000 years, Schloss Orth has now become a unique hub for nature and culture thanks in great part to its vicinity to the Donau-Auen National Park.
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If walls could talk, the Imperial hunting lodge of Eckartsau would tell many gripping stories about the final days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Nestled in the Danube wetlands and surrounded on all sides by the expansive Schlosspark gardens, Eckartsau was the final Austrian residence of Emperor Charles I and his wife Zita from 1918 to 1919.
Under the Eckartsau dominion, extensive land and territories were acquired both to the east and west, as were castles, market towns and rights. In the 16th and 17th centuries the inhabitants of Eckartsau came and went with regularity. The magnificent appearance of the palace today can be attributed in large part to Count Franz Ferdinand von Kinsky, who purchased the property, including the Eckartsau manor, in 1720. He subsequently converted the medieval fortification to a baroque hunting lodge. Top-notch artists such as Fischer von Erlach, Daniel Gran and Lorenzo Mattielli were closely involved in the extensive redevelopment.
In 1760, Francis Stephan von Lothringen (Francis I), husband of Maria Theresa, acquired the castle. Over the years, its most prominent residents included Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir presumptive to the throne, as well as Austria’s last imperial couple Charles I and Zita, who spent their final days in Austria at Eckartsau before going into exile. After 1945, the Austrian National Forests (ÖBf) became the administrators of Schloss Eckartsau and in the past decades have worked extensively to restore the castle – parts of which had been in absolute desolate condition – to its former glory.
At the time Eckartsau was erected as a fortification, the castle was in the middle of the wilderness and protected by ditches. At the beginning of the 18th century, in the course of redevelopment and conversion of the castle to the baroque style, two rows of linden trees were planted to form an allée. To the east, this lane stretched into the wetlands, all the way to a mooring spot on the Danube; to the west, it led to the spot where visitors arriving by carriage could be picked up.
Around 1900, Schloss Eckartsau experienced a renewed upswing under Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who found Eckartsau to be ideal for hunting. He refurbished the desolate structure from the ground up and commissioned Anton Umlauft, then imperial and royal director of gardens, to design the landscaped gardens. An even plateau was created where ditches once prevailed; the oval form created by these earth deposits is reflected in the curved paths in the park that wind around Schloss Eckartsau. The two-row linden allée was integrated into the design as an element of order and now forms the border between the wilderness of the Danube wetlands and the cultivated landscape of the Marchfeld.
In recent years, cooperation between the Federal Monuments Office and the Donau-Auen National Park has led to the Schlosspark being restored to a state true to its original design, thus making visible once more the idealised depiction of the transition from cultivated to wild landscape.
All in all, Eckartsau Schloss is a castle that opens many doors: to Austrian history, to the Donau-Auen National Park, to unforgettable events, and to rejuvenating relaxation. All these things may be had in close proximity to the metropolitan areas of Vienna and Bratislava, and in close harmony among nature, people and economic activity. Schloss Eckartsau is indeed a priceless repository of history, knowledge and human experience.
Cafe, Info Point, Exhibition "Wild change"
April 01 - November 01 | daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
April 01 - November 01 | daily at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Inspection of the premises only with guided tour possible.
Individual appointments available for groups of 6 or more.
open all year
You reach Eckartsau coming from Vienna on the airport highway A4 (exit Fischamend), B9 (towards Hainburg) and the B49 or the B3 on Großenzersdorf and Orth/Donau after Wagram on the Danube and from there on the L8 after Eckartsau.