The ruins of Dürnstein castle



The ruins of Dürnstein castle have become famous for the capture of King Richard the Lionheart of England.

The castle was built between 1140 and 1145. King Richard the Lionheart tore down the Austrian flag on his return from the Crusades and refused to share the spoils of war with Leopold V, Duke of Austria. As a consequence, Leopold V held the King of England captive in the castle built by Hademar I of Kuenring in Dürnstein (1192-1193). The royal prisoner was allowed to receive travelling singers (troubadours) during his imprisonment, from which the saga of the singer Blondel probably emerged. His loyal minstrel journeyed from castle to castle until he found his King in Dürnstein by singing a stanza which the prisoner completed. Richard the Lionheart was released upon payment of a ransom worth 150,000 silver marks.

The ruins of Dürnstein are free to visit all year round. If you are visiting the romantic ruins for the first time, you will be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view. The proud castles and monasteries are strung like diamonds on a necklace along the Wachau valley for you to enjoy.

Location and how to get there