The Town Hall
Jewel of the Renaissance
Dürnstein’s town hall building was built around the mid-16th century in the late Gothic style and rebuilt in the Renaissance fashion a few years later in 1563. Windows and door frames were kept in the late Gothic style and there is a keel arch cornice over the entrance gate.
The Dürnstein town fathers acquired the building towards the end of the 16th century and there is evidence of municipal government meetings here from 1593 on. However, it soon became apparent that the building was too spacious for the seat of the town council and in 1611 the northern part of the building was sold off to a wealthy citizen of Dürnstein, Ernst Pfäffinger. This part of the complex is now home to the Altes Rathaus guest house.
The historic conference room of Dürnstein Town Hall is located on the first floor and often used for wedding ceremonies, with over 100 couples from all over the globe coming here each year to take their vows. The inner courtyard is frequently used for photo shoots, not least because of the splendid row of vines planted in 1926.
A staircase, sometimes jokingly referred to as the ‘stairway to heaven’, leads from the courtyard up to the registry office. This is why Dürnsteiners also say that when you get hitched you really must be in seventh heaven, adding slyly, ‘Or else you wouldn’t fall out of the clouds [meaning ‘be taken by surprise’] afterwards!’
In earlier times, the historic conference room served as a courtroom as well. In the adjacent rooms, used nowadays as historical archives among other things, was once a prison, the so-called Gemeindekotter.
The ground floor once contained a press house for the general public. Here, winegrowers were able to press their grapes, since most of their houses were simply too small to accommodate the huge grape presses which were common at the time.
Supported by the Federal Province of Lower Austria and the European Union (LEADER)