Forchtenstein Castle is a castle built in the late Middle Ages situated 511 metres above sea level. The first part of the castle with its 50-metre high keep was built in the beginning of the 15th century by the Lords of Mattersburg, who later named themselves Lords of Forchtenstein.
The castle features a tower, known as the 'Black Tower' although the black rock that originally lined the tower has since been stripped. The tower contains a 12-metre deep pit used as a prison cell for those condemned to death. Rezallia, wife of Lettus of Forchtenstein used this with great frequency; on the return of her husband from military service, she was herself sentenced to death in the tower by her husband.
In 1622 Nikolaus Esterhazy, founder of the western Hungarian Esterhazy line, received the castle from Emperor Ferdinand II, and Esterhazy became a Count. The castle is still owned by the Esterhazy family and, together with Schloss Esterhazy in Eisenstadt, it chronicles the history and treasures of this ancient aristocratic family.
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