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The "Predigtstuhl" near Goettweig Abbey: A rediscovered church and a WW1 defense system

The "Predigtstuhl" near Goettweig Abbey: A rediscovered church and a WW1 defense system

January 2020 · 4 min read · Gemeinde Furth bei Göttweig

The "Predigtstuhl" is the highest of the two hilltops of the "Göttweiger Berg". The "Göttweiger Berg" is a mountain in Lower Austria on that Göttweig Abbey is located on the lower hilltop on 428 m above sea level.

Although the Predigtstuhl which is located south of the abbey has a height of 435 m above sea level, not many people know it.

On the road to Göttweig Abbey you will find a parking right next to the street before you reach the hilltop and the abbey.

On the left side of the road a smaller road branches off. Walk on this road, cross the barrier and walk straight ahead.

Take care! Do not turn into the first unpaved road on the left that will lead downhill, continue walking straight ahead!

Walk for about 100 meters and then a path will lead up the hill. You will see a signpost that indicates "St. Georg".

Follow the path for some minutes then you will have to turn right.

Soon, you will reach the ruins of St. Georg. It is assumed that a church has been built here in the late 9th or early 10th century. Altmann of Passau, the bishop who founded Göttweig Abbey built a stone church here in the 11th century.

It it assumed that the church was destroyed during the Siege of Vienna by the Ottoman troups in 1529.

In 2003 the association "friends of the church of St. Georg" was founded. Still, they knew about the church only from old books. Archeological excavations started in 2005. In the 4th year of excavations, in 2008, the first walls have been found.

From St. Georg you have a beautiful view to Göttweig Abbey.

Southwest of the church a small path leads downhill. When you follow this path…

you will find these stairway leading downhill.

The view is beautiful, but you probably should concentrate on the small stairs to find your way.

You have just entered the biggest remains of the "Brückenkopf Krems", a defense structure from World War I. In August 1914, the Austrian Army started to build defense rings around the cities that had bridges over the Danube like Linz, Krems, Tulln, Vienna or Pressburg (today's Bratislava).

In the case of an invasion of Italian or Russian troups, those defense rings should have protected the bridges that had enormous strategic importance.

It was intended to employ 34,000 soldiers in the defense ring around Krems. But as we know, the war got stuck in other theaters of war that have been far away from Krems: In the trenches in France and Belgium, in the Alps etc. In addition, it was visible that the defense systems and defense weapons have been more than outdated.

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In 1916 the construction of these defense rings was stopped and the weapons have been brought to other theaters of war.

There are of course other fragments of these defense structures, but the ones on the Predigtstuhl are the biggest ones.

More information in English language can be found on the website "World War One Sites". A plan of the hiking trail can be downloaded from the website of the tourist office of Furth.

As you can see, the path is really spectacular. Please use good high-top hiking shoes when you walk on this path. I would strongly recommend not to go there when there is snow or rain or when it is slippery after rainfalls or thaw.

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Currently, only OpenStreetMap shows all paths within the defense structure, Google Maps, ÖK etc. do not!

But also the views are very beautiful! Plan at least two hours for this walk because not all paths are easy to find and you will also need a lot of time for taking photos of this really interesting place!

A detailled German story with a detailled plan and even more photos can be found on!

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