The Castle Hochosterwitz was built on a limestone rock that rises 150m above the valley and allows the visitor a spectacular view over the neighbouring mountains, hills and countryside.
The castle was first mentioned in 860. It was a refuge for the local population during the Turkish invasion in the 11th and 12th century. After the death of Hans Schenk von Osterwitz, the last owner of the original lien, the castle was returned to King Friedrich III.
In gratitude for the support of the imperial troops during the wars against the Turks the lien of the castle Hochosterwitz was given to Christoph Khevenhüller von Aichelberg by Kaiser Ferdinand I in 1541. Christoph Khevenhüller started to rebuild the castle according to the plans of one of the greatest military architects of that time: Domenico dell’Aglio.
Christoph Khevenhüllers eldest son Johann inherited the Castle but due to his diplomatic obligations he passed the lien to his cousin Georg Khevenhüller. Georg Khevehüller, as governor of Carinthia, bought the Castle Hochosterwitz from Archduke Karl von Innerösterreich on 18th March 1571.
Georg Khevenhüller extended the buildings to their actual size using his own private money. In the castle yard a marble memorial tablet dated 1576 proclaims that Georg Khevenhüller had „reconstructed this castle with his personal means. It being his home, he surrounded it with walls and fitted out with bastions and an arsenal“.
Georg’s love and care for his castle lasted his whole life. The marble tablet also reminds his descendents and successors “to maintain the castle as a continuing memory of the past and a warning for all time”.
Since then the Castle Hochosterwitz has been owned by the same family for generations.
Many centuries have passed, but castle Hochosterwitz has not changed – only its purpose became a different one. Luckily, there was always some member of the family who, remembering the warning carved in stone by his ancestor, made great sacrifices to maintain the castle in good condition.