The first impression you’ll get of Eggenberg castle when you walk up to its gates, are the many peacocks roaming the extensive grounds. These unusual, stunning birds are not only harbingers of the beauty that awaits you inside the castle, they also hint at the eccentricities of its founder, who built the castle in the 17th century as a symbol of his newly acquired status in the Imperial Court.
To get the most out of a visit to Eggenberg castle, a guided tour of the state rooms is a must. You’ll soon find out that the castle contains many intriguing secrets that are not immediately obvious: such as the fact that the building includes remnants of Medieval structures, or that the entire layout of the castle is based on astronomical symbolism taken from the – at that point in history – brand new Gregorian calendar. You’ll find that the castle features exactly 365 windows, 31 rooms on each floor, 24 state rooms with 52 doors and 4 corner towers, all alluding to time, the seasons, weeks, days, hours, and minutes. Even the wall paintings in the stately Planetensaal (Planet Hall) are part of this intricate concept.
If a tour of the castle itself has given you a first sense of the Eggenberg family’s commitment to science and the arts, the permanent collections of the Universal Museum Joanneum that are housed here will give you even more insight into the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Don’t miss the “Alte Galerie,” which shows local and international art works from those eras, the collection of archaeological artefacts with its rare stone-age treasures, or the second largest numismatic collection in Austria.
If you have the time, make sure to take a stroll through the gardens of Schloss Eggenberg. Although little remains of the original 17th century layout, it is today a beautiful example of the landscaped gardens of the Romantic period, which is regarded as one of the most precious garden monuments in Austria. Peacocks included.