Cover image by Josef Siffert from Burgenland Tourismus GmbH

Burgenland, the region of sunshine, castles, chateaux, thermal waters and excellent wines is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The easternmost province of Austria is famous for its good wines, beautiful monuments as well as its friendly and hospitable inhabitants. Due to its pleasant climate, and the fact that it is the sunniest part of the country, it is a perfect holiday destination all year round. Visitors are impressed by the regional and linguistic diversity, breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and gastronomic delicacies of the county. It is no coincidence that Lake Neusiedl has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 31 December 2001.

The majority of its population is Austrian, and a smaller part is inhabited by Croatians and Hungarians. There are a lot of chateaux and castles in Burgenland, and while wandering around, the former fortresses or their picturesque ruins can be spotted on almost all heights.

Image by Ratfink1973 from Pixabay

In 2021, the province of Burgenland celebrates the 100th anniversary of its unification with the Republic of Austria. The historical past of the province is rather very busy. In Roman times, it was part of the province of Pannonia. Around 900, the area was occupied by the conquering Hungarians. During the Middle Ages, due to the frequent wars between the Hungarian kings, Austrian princes and German-Roman emperors, some of the castles in the area were in Austrian hands for various periods of time. The final annexation of the territory to Austria was concluded by the Treaty of Saint Germain, signed on 10 September 1919. The name of the new province, adopted in 1922, derives from the fact that the German names of the four Hungarian administrative districts – parts of which were going to be conjoined with it – all ended with the word burg (castle): Komitat Pressburg (Bratislava County), Komitat Wieselburg (Moson County), Komitat Ödenburg (Sopron County) and Komitat Eisenburg (Vas County). The original name would have been Vierburgenland, referring to the four counties, however, as eventually no parts of Bratislava County fell within the finally established borders, the number from the beginning of the name was omitted.

Image by Peter Podpera from Burgenland Tourismus GmbH

Since 1921, Burgenland has been Austria’s youngest federal state, steadily developing over the decades. Although, initially only in the field of education and training, then, in 1995, the accession to EU gave a driving force to the progress we can see today. Burgenland has been declared an economically backward province of Austria. As a “Ziel-1” region, it enabled Burgenland to be able to draw down significant aids to strengthen the province’s own economy. The then provincial chief played a timeless role in the process giving a remarkable momentum to the economic catch up. The development period ended in 2013. During this time, the economy of Burgenland has undergone a notable transformation and development.

Image by Annika Thell from Burgenland Tourismus GmbH

Burgenland is chiefly characterized by its extensive agriculture. Their main products are grapes and wine. In addition, wheat and sugar beet are also significant. The major settlements along the district headquarters and highways also function as trading cities.

Image by Jerzy Bin from Burgenland Tourismus GmbH

Together with Lower Austria, Burgenland has become the most important wine-producing region in Austria, as well as one of the oldest wine regions in the world. Nonetheless, Burgenland wines were not always so famous and delicious. However, thanks to the special features of the region and the continuous development of the technology used in winemaking, Burgenland has become the benchmark for quality Austrian winemaking.

Image by Birgit Machtinger from Burgenland Tourismus GmbH

Winemakers farm nearly 16,000 acres, cultivating the Neusiedl Area, Neusiedl Mountains (Neusiedlersee-Hügelland), Central Burgenland and Southern Burgenland. The plantations in Central Burgenland and Fertőmelléki-dombság (Fertőmelléki hills) are called Blaufränkischland, the homeland of the Blue-Frankish.

Image by Birgit Machtinger from Burgenland Tourismus GmbH

Initially, when Burgenland was formed, it was a poor small part of the country, which has flourished quite a bit. It has a key role in the Austrian winemaking, mainly due to its red wines, but also its white and sweet wines. Burgenland also produces more than 30 types of white wine, and white grapes – white burgundy, grey burgundy, chardonnay- are grown on almost half of the province’s vineyards. It is also an important fact that Rust is home to the Austrian Wine Academy, where several wine producers have obtained their WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) degrees. For a deeper insight into the world of wines, visit the Burgenland Wine Museum, which has found its new home full of traditions in the historic vaulted cellar of the Esterházy Castle. The transformation of the museum was made possible by merging the collections of the Burgenland Provincial Museum and the Esterházy Castle Winery, supplemented with borrowed objects. The objects of three millennia, partly with the foundations of the Middle Ages, form a harmonious whole, creating an environment at the same time, in which the culture of wine can be studied more closely.

Burgenland is not only famous for its good wines, but its thermal baths, castles, chateaux and fantastic wind parks are also worth mentioning.

Image by Herbert Frank from Flickr

Thermal Baths

Among its thermal waters, Bad Tatzmannsdorf has been the thermal bath of the year in Austria several times. The three healing springs of the settlement were already known by the Romans in the Bronze Age. The water has been used as thermal bath since 1621, as it is excellent cure for joint arthritis, muscle relaxation, bone and spine problems.

Stegersbach – Allegria Therme, which has already won the title of the 2nd best bath in Austria is the most famous thermal bath in southern Burgenland. The warm thermal water bursts to the surface from a depth of 3,000 meters and, due to its high sulphur content, is also used for healing and even to make cosmetics.

Bad Sauerbrunn is located near Wiener Neustadt. Its carbonated sour water was already known by the Romans. Its 40 Celsius degree water bursting up has the highest magnesium content in Austria and is also used for drink diets.

Lutzmannsburg – Sonnentherme is especially popular among families with children as most of the bath was built for the entertainment of the little ones. The centre of it is the so-called Sunlight Bath which is water park located in a large wooden-domed hall, together with the Funny Waters theme park. You will find the longest indoor slide in Austria, the 270-meter-long XXL Monster Ride.

Image by Karl Schrotter from Burgenland Tourismus GmbH

Chateaux and Castles

Eisenstadt, the largest city in Burgenland and the provincial capital, is located 60 km southeast of Vienna, in the Vulka Valley at the southern foot of the Lajta Mountains. The most famous attraction of the town is the Esterházy Castle, which was built as a water chateau in the 14th century and was later converted into a castle. The composer, Joseph Haydn, a prominent figure of the city, lived in Eisenstadt for 12 years. His house is a museum today and his remains are housed in the Haydnkirche church.

Forchtenstein, which is famous for its castle rising above the village, is also located in the Vulka Valley with a wonderful view to the Hungarian border.

Lockenhaus Castle was probably built in the early 13th century before the Tartar invasion. The oldest part of the castle is the pentagonal Old Tower. There is also a Gothic knight’s hall in the palace part.

The largest castle ruins in Central Europe are located in Landsee, a part of a village which lies 627 meters above sea level. The residential tower that forms the core of the building was built in the early 13th century, and its walls reach a thickness of 10 meters. An interesting fact about Landsee is that for several weeks it was the filming location for the American-Austrian-English adventure film „The Three Musketeers”.

Güssing is the most important town in southern Burgenland. It is located on volcanic mountain, standing out of the landscape dominating the entire area with its prominent view.

Images from Burgenland Tourismus GmbH

The largest wind farms in Central Europe

Known for its use of wind energy, Burgenland has become a market leader in Europe. The number of turbines reached 446 in 2018. The final installed capacity will be 237 MW, and upon completion, it will become the largest wind farm in Central Europe. In 2013, the amount of electricity generated by wind farms reached and even exceeded the entire energy consumption of the province. Burgenland has been an exporter of wind energy since 2014 and in 2018, it covered 150% of the province’s energy needs.

Of the € 73.6 million development funding provided to the province by the European Union in the 2014-2020 cycle, €12 million will be spent on the development of research, technology and innovation, €26 million on strengthening the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in Burgenland and €16.4 million have been allocated to support long-term and high value-added employment. Education and vocational training will receive a grant of € 6.4 million.

The most famous cultural events in Burgenland

If you want to see the 100-year history of Burgerland, check out the “100 Years Burgenland” exhibition at the Eisenstadt Provincial Museum or Güssing Castle.

It also offers music lovers a wide variety of programs. One of the most famous events in the province is the annual “Seefestspiele Mörbisch” by Lake Neusiedl, but the “Oper Im Steinbruch 2021”, the famous opera performance at the St. Margarethen Quarry, or the Eszterházy Castle is also worth mentioning.

Image by Jerzy Bin from Burgenland Tourismus GmbH