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Iron City

  • General Information

    Other Name: -, District: Eisenstadt , State: Burgenland , Austria
    Area: 0 -
    Languages Spoken: German
    Long Distance Code: 02682
    Importance: Until the end of World War I, it was the seat of Kismarton county in the Kingdom of Hungary.
    Best Time to Visit: January to March and April
    International Access: Connected to all the major cities of Austria.
  • Description

    Eisenstadt is a city in Austria, the state capital of Burgenland. It has a population of about 12,000 (2006). In the Habsburg monarchy, Eisenstadt/Kismarton was the seat of the Eszterházy hungarian noble family. The composer Joseph Haydn lived there as Hofkapellmeister under Esterházy patronage
  • Location

    Eisenstadt lies on a plain leading down to the river Wulka, at the south foot of the mountain range known as the Leithagebirge, about 12 km from the Hungarian border.
  • Climate

    Temperate Continental Climate
If you want to pay your final respects to Haydn, follow Hauptstrasse to Esterházystrasse, which leads to this church containing Haydn''s white marble tomb. Until 1954, only the composer''s headless body was here. His skull was in the Vienna''s Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, where curious spectators were actually allowed to touch it. Haydn''s head was stolen a few days after his death and wasn''t reunited with his body for 145 years. In a long and complicated journey, the head traveled from one owner to another, even being sold, before finally, we hope, coming to rest with the other part of Haydn''s remains at Eisenstadt.

The little home of the composer from 1766 to 1778 is now a museum. Although he appeared in court nearly every night, Haydn actually lived very modestly when he was at home. A little flower-filled courtyard is one of the few luxuries. The museum has collected mementos of Haydn''s life and work.

Haydn worked in this château built on the site of a medieval castle and owned by the Esterházy princes. The Esterházy clan was a great Hungarian family with vast estates that ruled over Eisenstadt and its surrounding area. They claimed descent from Attila the Hun. The Esterházys helped the Hapsburgs gain control in Hungary; so great was their loyalty to Austria, in fact, that when Napoleon offered the crown of Hungary to Nic Esterházy in 1809, he refused it.

The castle, built around an inner courtyard, was designed by the Italian architect Carlo Antonio Carlone, who began work on it in 1663. Subsequently, many other architects remodeled it, resulting in sweeping alterations to its appearance. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, it was given a baroque pastel facade. On the first floor, the great baronial hall was made into the Haydnsaal, where the composer conducted the orchestra Prince Esterházy had provided for him. The walls and ceilings of this concert hall are elaborately decorated, but the floor is of bare wood, which, it is claimed, is the reason for the room''s acoustic perfection.