Castle history

Hollywood stories from Salzburg

The history of Schloss Mittersill is fascinating and varied. The stories from its 900-year past open the door to the dreams and everyday life of bygone days. We share all sorts of interesting facts and intriguing stories about the stately castle in the province of Salzburg during our popular castle tours. If you listen and look closely during your vacation, the castle walls themselves itself will also reveal many a romantic tale.

The world’s most exclusive society club

In 1935 Baron Hubert von Pantz acquired Schloss Mittersill. In keeping with his lifestyle, his preferred pastimes and those of his equally illustrious and prominent friends from old Austrian nobility, Hubert von Pantz established the most exclusive society club in the world at Schloss Mittersill: the Sport & Shooting Club Mittersill. Even before the Second World War, everyone with rank and name in the international high society met there.

Once again feel the breath of noble times in old walls

Schloss Geschichte

Wir erzählen bei den beliebten Schlossführungen allerlei Wissenswertes über die Geschichte des herrschaftlichen Schlosses im Salzburger Land. Wenn Sie während Ihres Urlaubs ganz genau hinhören und hinsehen, werden Ihnen auch die Schlossgemäuer so manch romantische Geschichte verraten.

The history of Schloss Mittersill

Around 1150, the counts of Lechsgemünd in Bavaria had the first castle built to control one of the most important roads in the valley. Schloss Mittersill came into the possession of the archbishopric of Salzburg in the first half of the 13th century and became the seat of the caretaker for the region of Upper Pinzgau.

The fortress was taken and pillaged in 1526 during peasant uprisings. As a result, the archbishop of Salzburg had the fortifications expanded. The year of completion, 1528, can still be seen above the archway.

Possession of many dominions

The owners of Schloss Mittersill changed frequently after the archbishopric of Salzburg came to an end in 1803. After coming into state ownership, it was then passed on to various private individuals. In the 1930s it was acquired by Baron Hubert von Pantz, an entrepreneur with excellent connections in aristocratic circles.

What followed was a boom period: Nobility, industrialists and movie stars met in the castle in the province of Salzburg, and Mittersill was ‘in’. Queen Juliana of the Netherlands even spent several weeks honeymooning in the picturesque castle fortress.

New castel stories

After the dark days of National Socialism, life in the castle flourished again. The fortress was returned to Baron von Pantz who extensively renovated it. The ‘Sport & Shooting Club’, at that time the most exclusive club in the world, was founded in Schloss Mittersill in 1948.

High society again traveled to the Pinzgau: Hollywood greats such as Clark Gable, Bob Hope and Rita Hayworth, dazzling personalities such as the Duke of Windsor, Henry Ford II and the Shah of Persia were among the guests.

and today ...

The club decided to sell Schloss Mittersill in the mid-1960s. The International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) acquired the building in 1967 to use it as a conference center.

In December 2009, the castle was sold to locals from Pinzgau for the first time in its history. The entire building was extensively yet carefully renovated and equipped with the most modern amenities.

Nowadays you can experience the ambience of a centuries-old castle while enjoying the high standards of a 4-star superior castle hotel.

Suite stories

The ten individually designed suites at Schloss Mittersill are linked to fascinating stories of celebrities and nobility from the last century. The historic walls are not only witnesses to former high-society encounters in our castle, but continue to exert unbroken fascination to this day.

The Persian fairytale princess from Germany

A fairytale like one from One Thousand and One Nights: This is the dazzling but melancholic life story of Princess Soraya of Persia. Soraya’s father came from one of Persia’s most distinguished and oldest tribal families. He was the imperial Persian ambassador to Germany from 1951 to 1961. In Berlin, he also met Soraya’s mother, the Moscow-born saleswoman Eva Karl.

Soraya was born on June 22, 1932 in Isfahan, the capital of the eponymous province in what was then Persia (now Iran). She spent her childhood in her native country as well as in Germany and Switzerland. She attended elite boarding schools in Montreux, Lausanne, and the Saint James boarding school in London. Soraya enjoyed excellent education and spoke four languages fluently: German, English, French and Persian.

Her fate was to be decided when the Shah of Persia’s mother, in search of a suitable wife for her son and monarch, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi Shahanshah, took a liking to a photograph of Soraya. The Shah, too, fell in love with Soraya’s portrait. A wedding ceremony followed with glitz and glamour. Soraya got married in a silver Christian Dior wedding robe weighing no less than thirty kilograms. It seems that it was (in spite of the arrangement) a marriage of love, according to what both the Shah himself and Soraya later repeatedly suggested within the limits of permissible etiquette.
However, over the span of their seven-year-long marriage, no male heir to the throne was born (just as in Mohammed’s first marriage). The Shah therefore told the Persian radio station in a low voice and with “great sorrow” that due to state reasons he had separated from his “dear wife”. For Soraya, too, this separation was the only possible way forward. She could not have endured sharing her husband with a concubine necessary to produce an heir to the throne. The royal couple probably spent the happiest and most carefree days of their officially impossible love at Schloss Mittersill.

The life of Soraya proceeded to be as fateful as that of Princess Diana or Empress Elizabeth of Austria. Each of her steps was observed by the tabloids and commented on with great enthusiasm. She is said to have had affairs with the German playboy Gunter Sachs and the Austrian film actor Maximilian Schell. In fact, a great love of Soraya’s was the Italian film director Franco Indovina, with whom she was in a relationship until his tragic death in a plane crash in 1972. Frequently traveling and repeatedly suffering from depression, Princess Soraya died in her Parisian apartment on Avenue Montaigne on October 21, 2001. Soraya was laid to rest in the family grave in Munich’s Westfriedhof.

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