The Friedensburg Schlaining was first mentioned in a document in 1271 as "castrum Zloynuk" and at that time it was owned by the counts of Güssing. Only gradually did the name change before it officially became known by its present name in 1786. In the 15th century the castle came into the possession of the knight Andreas Baumkircher. His name is surrounded by many legends in the region today - the so-called "Baumkircher Feud" (1469-1471) against Emperor Frederick III eventually led to Baumkircher's execution in Graz.
In 1527 Franz Batthyány received the manor as a gift, whose successors remained the owners for over 300 years. Only after the execution of Ludwig Batthyány in 1849, the castle again fell to new owners, including the Hungarian Chamber, the railroad pioneer Dr. Franz Schmidt, Dr. Demeter Selesky and the Hungarian Hermesbank and the former Austrian Federal Minister DDDr. Udo Illig.
The idea of creating a Peace Castle arose during the turbulent times of the Cold War. For this purpose, an association was founded in 1982 by Dr. Gerald Mader with the support of Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, with the help of which the idea of a dialogue between East and West was to be promoted. This association was implemented, among other things, through the "Peace Center" at Friedensburg Schlaining as a place of encounter, discussion and dialogue. Subsequently, in 1983, the association established itself as the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution, ÖSFK for short, which was also awarded the official title of "Ambassador of Peace" by the Secretary General Perez de Cuellar in 1987.
Today the castle includes:
- The anniversary exhibition "We are 100. Burgenland makes history".
- the ASPR, the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution
- function rooms such as the Knights' Hall and the Festival Hall
- seminar rooms
- the romantic castle courtyard
- the castle arena and the castle moat
After extensive renovation, Friedensburg Schlaining is the venue for the anniversary exhibition "We are 100. Burgenland makes history", which opens on August 15. In 2021, Burgenland will celebrate 100 years of belonging to Austria, a historical anniversary marked by togetherness. Over the past century, Burgenland has developed from one of the poorest regions in Europe into a model region in Austria, but also within the entire European Union. The strong cohesion and the positive feeling of togetherness among the population have contributed significantly to this development.
Themes include interesting facts about the origins of Austria's easternmost province, its political history, identity and homeland, economy and environment, emigration and refugee movements, as well as the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of the country. The focus is also on gripping life stories and memories of Burgenland personalities or interesting facts about typical Burgenland cuisine and enjoyment.
The impressive development of Burgenland is shown by means of the moments when Burgenland was in the spotlight of world events. For example, the Hungarian Uprising in 1956, the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 or the refugee crisis in 2015.
Former synagogue Schlaining - Part of the anniversary exhibition:
An important part of the anniversary exhibition is the former synagogue of Stadtschlaining, which is still considered the best preserved synagogue in Burgenland. On the main square, in the immediate vicinity of the Friedensburg Schlaining, lies the former synagogue founded in the 18th century and the rabbi's house, which is also a listed building. Due to the tolerant attitude of the Batthyánys, the large Jewish community of Stadtschlaining grew to 650 members by 1865, which accounted for over 40% of the population of the village. With the liberalization of the "Jewish laws" in the Hungary of that time, many Jews made the decision to leave Stadtschlaining. The once large Jewish community continued to shrink and in 1938 all Jews remaining in the village were finally expelled and their property aryanized. After the Second World War, the synagogue stood empty for a long time before the building, which is of great artistic and historical value, was renovated in the 1980s.