Starting from Krems, we take the federal highway in western direction to Dürnstein.
The picturesque ruin located high above Dürnstein testifies to the captivity of Richard I, known as Richard the Lionheart, King of England. He quarrelled with Leopold V, Duke of Austria, during the third crusade in the battle around Akkon. On his return from the sacred country, he was taken prisoner directly before Vienna.
After long negotiations, Richard the Lionheart was released on payment of an enormous sum which approximately corresponded to the double annual taking of the English crown, one speaks of 90 tons of silver which Leopold shared with the Kaiser Heinrich VI.
Leopold used the money for the construction of the fastening walls around Vienna and founded Wiener Neustadt. With the remaining money he established a mint in Vienna, and so he converted the currency from soft into hard. In 1645, the Swedes destroyed the castle down to its foundations.
Dürnstein is as well renowned for his baroque parish church. Some years ago, its tower was restored again in the original colours blue and white.
Surrounded by vineyards lies the village of Weißenkirchen, dominated by a Gothic fortified church, dating from the 14th Century.
Worth seeing is the Renaissance inner courtyard of the Teisenhoferhof. Here one can visit the Wachau Museum.
If you have time, you should treat yourself to a Danube cruise through the Wachau or till Vienna. It is the most beautiful way to experience the landscape.
Slightly off the Danube, in the Waldviertel, is Artstetten. Under the castle church you can visit the tomb of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, who were assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914, which is supposed to be trigger of the 1st World War.
High above the Danube valley sits the Basilica Maria Taferl. After Mariazell, it is the most important pilgrimage church of Austria.
Please read on > Visiting Krems and Stein
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