Eckartsau

Front view of the castle of Eckartsau - Charles of Austria - Last emperor

If you are wondering about this rather strange name, never heard of it before, then you are probably not alone. Even with an interest in central European history or Imperial Austrian history, you will most likely think about Schönbrunn first. But where the main buildings of the Habsburg power are to be found in Vienna, in the near distance there are a lot of small castles, formerly owned by a Erzherzog (Prince). Eckartsau was home to Franz Ferdinand, the beginning of the end, shot in Sarajewo triggering World War I and later the last residence of Charles I, the last Austrian emperor.


The castle dates back to the 12th century, restyled to a baroque hunting lodge and today in the middle of a National park, restored showing inside the works of the masters, Fischer von Erlach and Lorenzo Mattielli, a lovely small cafe, an exhibition and a park surrounding the main building. It is free to visit the castle and the exhibitions, the parking situation is, unusually for Austria, very good and free of charge as well, located inside the park. It is a nice trip, back into Austria's history without having to stay at an annoyingly overcrowded  touristic hotspot - rather a secret place, in the shadow of the fall of the empire.

 

Charles I - the Last emperor

The current exhibitions is focused on Emperor Charles I., there are a few interesting pieces, sadly the room isn't used properly, a lot of modern ideas, mirrors, games, spoils the flair of rare original objects in those historic rooms.