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Waldviertel Tour

Much of the popularity of the idyllically situated town of Durnstein is due to the adventures of the English King, Richard the Lionheart. On the Third Crusade, undertaken with the French King Philip August and the Austrian Margrave Leopold V, Richard fell out with his fellow crusaders. On his journey home through Babenberg territories, in 1192, he was imprisoned in the Kunringerburg fortress above Durnstein, whose ruins can still be seen today. As legend has it, the King’s faithful French minstrel, Jean Blondel, discovered him with a song known only to the two of them. A ransom of 35,000 kg (77,100 lbs) silver was paid and Richard released. The Babenbergs used the money to fortify Enns, Hainburg, Wiener Neustadt and Vienna, while the name of the faithful servant lives on in many of Durnstein’s establishments. The Baroque silhouette of the Stiftskirche (Collegiate Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary) towering above the town was created by the masters of the day. The courtyard is probably the work of Jakob Prandtauer;the entrance is embellished with lovely, decorated portals. The former convent of St Claire is now an inn; the Renaissance castle a hotel.

Waldviertel Tour Photo Gallery

Waldviertel Tour
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