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Schloss Hohenwerfen
Written by: Jakob Söderbaum
Published: WED - Unofficial homepage
Date: Wednesday, July 14, 1999

A medieval stronghold
In the northern Pongau region of the Salzburg province, Austria, surrounded by the mighty Tennen and Hagen mountain ranges, the great Hohenwerfen stronghold surveys the Salzachtal from its 155 meters tall crag. The castle was built in 1077, constructed mainly as a refuge and a barrier on the most important north-south going communication road in the Salzburg province and very strategically positioned in the beginning of the narrow Lueg Pass. Its sole existence in this spot appears to have been acting enough as a deterrent, because throughout its history, Hohenwerfen has been involved in only a few military conflicts - and hardly any damage has been caused by enemies. In 1876, the active military function of the fortress came to a definite end.

During the centuries, however, the fortress has played an important role as state prison and therefore had a bad reputation. Its prison walls have witnessed the tragic fate of many 'criminals' who spent their days there - maybe their last - under inhuman conditions, and, periodically, various highly ranked nobelmen have also been imprisoned there.

Throughout its history, Hohenwerfen has been built out and rebuilt, its present day appearance dating back to the 16th century. Local as well as foreign painters have always been fascinated by its grandness.

In 1931, a fire broke out in the very centre of the fortress, ruining many buildings and innumerable antiquities and pieces of art. Although times were hard, the owner at the time, Archduke Eugene, ordered it to be rebuilt, and in 1932 the restoration was completed. Apart from minor changes concerning the roofs, the fortress was rebuilt as before.

In 1938, the Federal State of Salzburg assumed the management over Hohenwerfen. During WWII it was used by the nazis as a district training camp, and from 1945 to 1987 it housed the Austrian Gendarmerie School (a Police Academy). On the 1st of July 1987 the fortress was opened to the public, and since then, the fortress has been made more attractive to the public. In 1990 began the first Birds of Prey flight demonstrations, which has proved to be a great success.

Hohenwerfen today
Today, Burg Hohenwerfen is a historic monument which is in remarkably good condition thanks to the regular renovations carried out by its present owner, the province of Salzburg. Having been built purely for political and strategic purposes, the fortress has now - more than 900 years later - become a centre of cultural and economic importance. This is a very nice and positive development, and the province of Salzburg hopes it will serve as a symbol of a peaceful future.

User Comments:

S. Bishop (2002-12-27)
In 1969, as a 13 year old, I stayed in the Gasthaus Hohenwerfen, in Werfen, along with others from schools all over England. It was an experience I will never forget, and before I knew about 'Where Eagles Dare'. I visited the castle and crossed the bridge many times. It was subsequently great to see the film and know that I had been to this memorable location.
Rob (2006-03-28)
Was the castle not called Schloss Adler?
Charles (2008-03-07)
Yes, the castle was called Schloss Adler -> Translated from German, it means Eagle Castle, thus "Where Eagles Dare"
Our Top Agent (2008-08-12)
The Castle also appears in the back ground of the film: "The Sound of Music" filmed in 1964, during one of the songs.
Tanja G. (2009-07-06)
Hey guys, I live at the bottom of the castle, in the town called Werfen. My husband provided the screenshots and photo story of the places the movie was shot on this website. I read that some of you have fond memories of travelling to Austria and seeing the fortress. We\'ve recently been thinking of offering organized tours to the spots \"Where Eagles Dare\" was shot, including Hohenwerfen castle and others. Is there any interest in this? Would you book such a trip? Feedback appreciated, Tanja
Icekrusher (2009-09-25)
The best location movie set of all time!
TLA (2009-11-16)
Yes, Tanja, I'm sure that there would be a reasonable amount of interest in seeing where the scenes were shot. Sadly, despite once being an (British) Army ski instructor on the German/Austrian border, I've fled to where Schaeffer came from (so my personal ability to visit Hohenwerfen is limited).
Taff (2010-01-11)
Tanja, can we talk about this off forum? I run a tour company in Munich and have the same idea....perhaps we can help each other on this?
bonnie  (2010-03-29)
what month in 1969 did this movie premier in sydney
Morten Sagen (2010-10-31)
The castle was also used as the exterior location for the 1960s Agatha Christie film, And Then There Were None.
Giovanni La Guardia (2011-06-17)
Scusate, qualcuno sa dove è la cattedrale di Dusseldorf?
Ernesto Cefis (2011-06-17)
Anche io ho due cicatrici parallele ai polsi. Me le ha fatte mia moglie
Neil (2011-08-30)
I`m hoping to do a complete "Eagles" location visit sometime in the near future, covering all areas used in the film.. Lofer, Ebensee, etc...
Our Top Agent (2011-10-03)
Neil, I would recommend staying in Lofer, lovely village. This has the Zum Wilden Hirsch which has recently been renovated and is now a nice restaurant and B & B. Also where the team start there escape on the bus and drive through the village. Lovely place, only half an hour from Salzburg too. Regards, Andy
Håkan Johansson (2011-10-09)
In the movie, when the german troops have retaken the cable car control room, and the officer tries to stop the cable car by the controls, there is a sign in the background "XXXkommando Hohenwerfen" (possibly Militärkommando) and below it "Festungskommandant" and a red right arrow below it. Since there is no cable car at the real Burg Hohenwerfen and this must be a stage scene, this would be the german name of the installation. Codename(?) "Schloss Adler" is then bad english intelligence :-)
Chris J (2012-08-15)
Tanja; I might visit in early Sept 2012. . I would love to visit the castle and check out the movie scenes. How do We connect
Randall (2013-12-22)
"In 1938, the Federal State of Salzburg assumed the management over Hohenwerfen. During WWII it was used by the nazis as a district training camp.." One comment, I think its unfair that all Germans during WW2 are called Nazis. I have studied and read about this. The actual number of fanatical, longtime and passionate nazis was a small percentage of the population. We should stop labeling them all, its offensive to the Germans, I think.
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