Castle Laa is in castle square!
The stone walls that surround the Castle had little doors in the wall that allowed smugglers and other riff-raff to enter during the night!
The castle is from the 13th Century. In 1564 a fire almost destroyed the entire city and parts of the fortifications. In 1786 the castle was passed into private ownership and still is today.
Located at Laa An Der Thaya - 39kms from Retz
We drove 39kms through picturesque countryside to the town of Laa An Der Thaya.
A striking building we saw, was the Town Hall which was designed by a Viennese architect and built for the 50th anniversary of Government.
The two figures next to the balcony are of a Peasant with Sickle and Sheaf, and a farmer with a distaff and beehive. These symbolize the original rural structure of the city. On the Tower is the crest of the town of Laa an der Thaya.
Driving around this part of Lower Austria reminded us of the Wine regions at home. Here, they have a "Wine Route" that you can follow, only it's 400kms long.
Retz and the surrounding area is lovely, and I would suggest coming here to enjoy the scenery and wine!
It's hilly countryside is interspersed with fields and countless vineyards, Church spires, small villages and gorgeous views were everywhere!
The wine town RETZ is on the Wine Route of the Weinviertel, and is worth spending some time there.
There are more than 675 Wine Route businesses – ranging from wine growers, wine taverns and wine shops to wine inns and bed & breakfasts, located in the 77 wine villages along the Weinviertel Wine Route.
From Vienna to Retz is 80kms by road.
As I am having trouble with translation, I can't write more tips on Retz.
All I can tell you is Retz is a walled city, and when walking, I came across some tall towers that were the gates to the City.
There is also Schloss Gatterbrug, which has its own winery and vineyards.
I loved the town square, so many Burgher houses painted in pastel, and plenty of shops where I picked up some bargains.
I also found a few water fountains in the Marktplatz and monuments, one in particular had beautiful sculptures. In one of the side streets, was the Retz Museum.
Retz is very easy to walk around, just be careful on the cobblestones.
It was very quiet, and I didn't see another Tourist, even though as we were leaving, the Little Tourist Train pulled into the Marktplatz.
On the backstreets of Retz, I found the Dominikaner Church, built in 1295.
In one of the corners, is an early Gothic stone tympanum, featuring Mary, Jesus and a collection of lions. I could go inside and see the Baroque and Rococo furnishings including the richly gilded pulpit and the lovely organ loft from which gold flames appeared to be escaping. Quite nice inside and worth a look.
Sitting in the Markplatz, the Town Hall reminded me of a Church!
No wonder it did, as I later found out, it WAS built originally as a Church!
From 1568 to 1569 the former gothic church was converted to the Town hall.
On the north side there are two arched cellar doors and a door to the tower staircase. The south side has the arched portal chapel from the 16th Century, and the outside stairs to the upper floor.
In the main hall, is the city museum.
OPEN...May– Oct ...Mon– Sat 9am–6pm, Sun 9am–4pm;
RATHAUS CHAPEL OPEN.. May– Oct daily 10.15am & 3.45pm
ADMISSION IS FREE
It's decorated from floor to very low ceiling in vibrant trompe l'oeil Rococo stucco-work and frescoes.
The Rathaus is also the location of the town's labyrinth underground Wine Cellars, which can be explored in 1.5 hours on tour, which include a tasting.
TOURS....daily 10.30am, 2 & 4pm
ADMISSION ...Adults €6.50
Meet at the tourist information opposite.
The Sgraffitohaus, was a wow moment for me! What an amazing house!
It was in 1576, the Sgraffitohaus was built and it wasn't until 1928, the overpainted paintings were discovered and uncovered again. It is painted with scenes from Greek mythology, from Narcissus to Medea on the main facade, while the side depicts the ages of woman in decades from zero to a hundred.
One of the most interesting houses I have ever seen, would be more so if you can read german.
Verderber House grabbed my attention straight away. Painted orange, and looking a bit like a Castle, I found it was developed from the former tower house, the Gewelibhaus (1437).
Originally there were three houses, today the pinnacle-crowned building has the house numbers 15 and 40.
In 1583, the house belonged to the treasurer of the count, and it was then, this lovely renaissance building with the decorative pinnacles was built.
The name of the creator is in the stone relief above the flying buttress, and also his motto “Alles mit der Zeit” (All with the time).
Inside of this motto there is a coat of arms, to the right and left there are allegoric figures in long clothes with flowing hair and a crown on the head. The right figure is holding cup and crown, the left scales and sword. On the sides one lion is seen, respectively, and above the middle panel, the civil crown and two winged griffins.
Already generations of visitors to combine the wine town of Retz, the free wine fountain, where once a year at the Harvest Festival Sunday in the wine flows from the fountain in the main square!
But the Grape Harvest Festival has much more to offer:
Is the unique atmosphere at the wine tavern and large tusks on the main market square, where seeing and being seen next to the tasting of regional specialties, and the top wines of the ubiquitous Storm of the favorite pastimes of the wine-and Waldviertel seems to count. A comprehensive music program for a good time with young and old - usually until the wee hours of the morning! Protection against cold or rain offers the hospitality and wine taverns and the old amusement park on the Jahnhalle "old sports field," the delicacy taverns in the historic town hall.
A special children on Saturday afternoon offers family-friendly program.
On Sunday, a program highlight is chasing the next: After a festive open-air mass, and the performances of the brunch mood groups of thousands of visitors eagerly await the arrival of the city of Retz Chapel with the guests of honor and the subsequent opening of the free wine fountain. The famous winemakers parade with more than 50 groups and weighing is this year under the motto: "In the wine world, where joy is growing," and thrilled the audience crowded. As of now, the mood at the top - during the next few hours, the wine flows like water! The giant fireworks display that you should have seen our guests passed the evening until next year.
(google translation of the city web page)
"Verderberhaus" is most wonderful and magnificant building on the town square of Retz. It goes back to the renaissance era and this style is venician. So in some cases you could feel like on a piazza in Italy ... although it is in Retz.
Click on the picture to see all the amazing details of this house.
You must visit the town centre! The medival town square consits of many great old buildings, most of them are in baroque style.
Further visit the caves under the square, they are one of Austria´s biggest! I have to check it when I am there next time!