The city as a fortress

A permanent exhibition in the Kasematten Wiener Neustadt The extensive archaeological investigations, building research and restorations, which were carried out in 2017-2019 in the run-up to the Lower Austrian State Exhibition, have brought numerous new insights into the history of the city in the area of ​​the casemates in the southwest of the old city fortifications.

This made it possible for the first time to precisely determine the origin of the city wall, the surrounding moat and the Zwinger wall in terms of building history. From the 13th century onwards, the conversions in the south-west corner show steady progress in medieval and early modern construction. The weir system was changed, supplemented, replanned and adapted to the needs of the city defense of the new town. The type of attachment changed to the same extent as weapon technology developed. A new exhibition in the oldest part of the casemates, the so-called "Strada Coperta", the covered passage, shows these changes. Here the bastion was modified in the 16th century in such a way that it was possible to transport large artillery pieces to an upstream defense system in the event of an attack.

In the beginning, visitors are introduced to the winding system of the facility by means of a plan and an explanation. Selected finds (13th to 20th century) give an overview of the archaeological excavation. An oil mill (13th century) found in a wealthy townsman's house excavated in front of the casemates tells both the story of oil extraction and an interesting detail about the medieval reuse of valuable stone material. The "Kruseler Püppchen", a playing figure made of pipe clay from the 14th century and an early playing piece, both finds from the latrine, are valuable testimonies to everyday history.

The history of use of the casemates is illuminated up to the present. On the one hand through found material that goes into the turbulent times of the 20th century, on the other hand through photo and film material up to the very recent past. Film sequences, recorded with the association Historia vivens from Puchberg, show how crossbows and firearms from the 16th century worked. These can also be seen in the original in showcases that have been flawlessly preserved and as a staging. A film guides you through the history of fortress construction in Europe in easy-to-understand language. The lowering of the Strada Coperta to the present level can be clearly demonstrated by textual material, but above all by the true-to-original outline of a large cannon (length 5.20 m) at the level of the 16th century. An animated 3D animation of the fortifications shows its development over several centuries and its location in the city's defense system up to modern times.

A tactile, illuminated city map made of Corian enables the visually impaired to feel the structures of the city in the 18th century. Visitors looking for important points on the map are encouraged to act independently by means of images and pushbuttons for lighting. The cultural mediation is based on the one hand on the statements of the building researcher MMag. Ronald Woldron, available to individual visitors at three listening stations. On the other hand, 3D animation and the tactile city map are also used in dialogue tours or workshops. Special programs for children, young people and adults are offered. The exhibition "The City as a Fortress" focuses on the casemates themselves and their importance for the city and its people through the centuries. This exhibition brings the history of this facility, which is unique in Europe, alive and present.

Opening times: Wed-Fri, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m

Guided tours: Saturday 11 a.m