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Trip Planner Europe  /  Austria  /  Lower Austria  /  Durnstein

Durnstein

4.4
Castles · Churches · Wineries & Vineyards
Dürnstein is a small town on the Danube river in the Krems-Land district, in the Austrian state of Lower Austria. It is one of the most-visited tourist destinations in the Wachau region and also a well-known wine growing area. The municipality consists of the Katastralgemeinden Dürnstein, Oberloiben and Unterloiben.EtymologyThe town gained its name from the medieval castle Burgruine Dürnstein, which overlooked it. The castle was called "Duerrstein" or "Dürrstein", from the German duerr/dürr, meaning "dry", and Stein, "stone". The castle was dry because it was on a rocky hill, high above the damp conditions of the Danube at the base of the hill, and it was built of stone.HistoryDürnstein was first mentioned in 1192 when, in the castle above the town, King Richard I of England was held captive by Leopold V, Duke of Austria after their dispute during the Third Crusade. Richard the Lionheart had offended Leopold the Virtuous by casting down his standard from the walls at the Battle of Acre, and the duke suspected that King Richard ordered the murder of his cousin Conrad of Montferrat in Jerusalem. In consequence Pope Celestine III excommunicated Leopold for capturing a fellow crusader. The duke finally gave the custody of the king to Emperor Henry VI, who imprisoned Richard at Trifels Castle.
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