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We spent an afternoon following the footsteps of King Richard I Lionheart of England, who was imprisoned here in the castle above the charming town.

* All photos in this article were taken with a Sony Alpha 7 full frame camera with 24-70mm lens. The photos were resized from JPEGs from the camera and have not been edited.

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Dürnstein is a small town on the Danube river in the Krems-Land district in Austria.

The wine growing Wachau region in the Danube valley is a popular tourist destination with plenty of pretty little towns, including Melk -where the the famous Stift Melk abbey is located.

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We parked our car just outside the old town centre and strolled into the main street.

From there we took a steep path up to the castle ruins which overlooked the town.

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After 25 minutes of tough ascent, we reached the ruins which was much higher, further and larger than it appeared from the town.

Plenty of children, including ours, were clamouring up and down amidst the ruins from which we enjoyed a breathtaking view of the Danube Valley below us.

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We descended via the alternative route which was less steep but nevertheless took some 25 minutes reading signboards about the ill-fated
Richard along the way.

In comparison, the steeper route afforded a much better view of the town and its blue church tower below.

The town is fairly small but one can easily spend half a day checking out the shops for jams and local wines and handicraft.

If we had more time, we wouldn’t mind staying a few nights in the region to slowly check out the other towns and visit the vineyards for some wine tasting.

It’s also a good area for cycling as well.

All in all, a beautiful town and excellent destination.

According to Wikipedia, “Dürnstein was first mentioned in 1192, when, in the castle above the town, King Richard I Lionheart of England was held captive by Duke Leopold V of Austria after their dispute during the Third Crusade.”

“Richard had personally offended Leopold by casting down his standard from the walls at the Battle of Acre, and the duke suspected that King Richard ordered the murder of his cousin Conrad of Montferrat in Jerusalem.”

“In consequence Pope Celestine III excommunicated Leopold for capturing a fellow crusader. The duke finally gave the custody of Richard to Emperor Henry VI, who imprisoned Richard at Trifels Castle.”

“Dürnstein Castle was almost completely destroyed by the troops of the Swedish Empire under Field Marshal Lennart Torstenson in 1645.”

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