The impressive Eppenstein castle ruin in upper Styria is a big and well maintained medieval fortress that also offers a nice view. First documented in 1160, the ruins of the castle stand on a high cliff, about 200 meters above the valley. In the Middle Ages the stronghold watched over an important north-south trade route. From Eppenstein one could not only control large parts of the Styrian Murboden, but also the road leading into the Carinthian Lavanttal. Over the centuries the fortress grew larger with extensions taking place until the late 15th century.
The stronghold changed hands for several times and caused several inheritance disputes. In 1480 a member of the local nobility took the castle from his sister by force and locked her in a tower. It was not until two years later that she was freed from invading Hungarians who by treachery entered the otherwise invincible castle. In 1637, Eppenstein Castle once again was ruled by a violent tyrant. It is said that he killed a coal-carrier who did not avoid him in time, and raped a fourteen-year-old before he was sentenced to pay a heavy fine for which all goods had to be collected. However, since this was not enough, he was thrown into the dungeon on the Schloßberg Castle in Graz, where he died two years later.
After a devastating fire and an earthquake in the 16th century the castle was abandoned. Today, you can visit the Eppenstein castle ruin by following a mountain trail that leads up from the valley. The castle’s remains are well maintained and you can access the stronghold via a wooden bridge.
Here is more information on Wikipedia.
More free attractions in Styria.