‘Comparable to a natural wonder, the bluff of Staatz rises up from the ground with its gigantic shape, of substantial height and free on all sides, whereupon the remains of the former castle Staatz, still grand in its decay, stare sadly into the distance.’ With lyrical emotion, the topographer Schweickhard von Sickingen thus described the cliff at Staatz in the middle of the 19th century.
The castle was constructed on the pointed limestone cone at the time of the Babenberg dynasty. This miniature mountain is a primeval protuberance in the hilly region of the Weinviertel. Some 25 million years ago, during the time of the formation of the Alps and Carpathians, the Molasse basin of the Alpine foothills and the Vienna basin thrusted over each other.
The hill and ruin have been attracting the gaze of onlookers and commanding respect from both friend and foe for many centuries. But after 500 years, the supposed invincibility of the castle came to an end, when during the Thirty Year’s War Sweden conquered the Staatz castle with their new field artillery. In order not to obstruct the sighting of potential attackers, the Staatz hill was long kept in a deforested state.
A dry and warm environment has been favourable to plant species from the eastern steppe areas, a development since the late 19th century. The Weinviertel cliffs have also been keeping whole generations of researchers busy over the years. In 1978 the Staatz cliff, together with the castle ruin, was declared a natural monument.