The New Castle
From the Zelking to the Thiery family
The so-called ‘new castle’, today a 5-star hotel, was built between 1622 and 1630 by Christoph Wilhelm, Baron of Zelking on the site of Maissauer Hof.
Baron von Zelking had over 10 houses cleared to make way for his new domicile. Whether Cipriano Biasino, who was based in Krems and built the parish church there, was indeed its architect, is uncertain.
The mighty Renaissance building is located on a rock spur between the main street and the Danube. The complex is designed around a square courtyard and flanked by two symmetrically placed, smaller buildings: a gatehouse to the west and a pavilion to the east.
The castle is still more or less the way it originally was in 1630, including the cellar rooms beneath which were dug into the rock. Solely the courtyard was covered in 1975.
As early as 1634, a few years after Baron von Zelking had Dürnstein Castle built, the property was acquired through marriage by Heinrich of Zinzendorf and Pottendorf.
The counts of Zinzendorf and Pottendorf were an old Lower Austrian family who, like almost all Lower Austrian nobility, had converted to Protestantism during the 16th and 17th centuries.
In the course of the Counterreformation, many Protestant families left their homes. This was also the case for the counts of Zinzendorf and Pottendorf, who sold the castle and estate to Conrad Balthasar, Count von Starhemberg in 1663. But the new owners of Castle Dürnstein hardly used the building as a residence. The Starhembergs only spent time in Dürnstein when visiting the large vineyards they owned or during the hunting season.
Emperor Leopold I’s visit went down in history, as it was here that he received news of Vienna’s liberation from the Turks while spending a few days at Dürnstein Castle as the Starhembergs’ guest in 1683.
The counts of the Starhemberg remained in possession of Dürnstein Castle and its demesne for almost 300 years. It was not until 1937 that Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg sold the castle to the Thiery family.
Over the decades, the Thiery family has converted Dürnstein Castle into a 5-star hotel. Today, the hotel is run by the third generation.
Supported by the Federal Province of Lower Austria and the European Union (LEADER)