Retz is a town with a population of 4,168 in the district of Hollabrunn
Hollabrunn (district)
Bezirk Hollabrunn is a district of the state ofLower Austria in Austria.-Municipalities:Towns are indicated in boldface; market towns in italics; suburbs, hamlets and other subdivisions of a municipality are indicated in small characters.* Alberndorf im Pulkautal* Göllersdorf** Bergau,...

 in Lower Austria
Lower Austria
Lower Austria is the northeasternmost state of the nine states in Austria. The capital of Lower Austria since 1986 is Sankt Pölten, the most recently designated capital town in Austria. The capital of Lower Austria had formerly been Vienna, even though Vienna is not officially part of Lower Austria...

, Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...



Retz is located in the north western Weinviertel
The Weinviertel or Viertel unter dem Manhartsberg is located in the northeast of Lower Austria....

 in Lower Austria. The municipality's area covers 45,01 km². 11.83 percent of this area is forested. Cadastral municipalities are Hofern, Kleinhöflein, Kleinriedenthal, Obernalb, Retz and Unternalb.

Middle ages

In the area around the present-day Anger (Meadow
A meadow is a field vegetated primarily by grass and other non-woody plants . The term is from Old English mædwe. In agriculture a meadow is grassland which is not grazed by domestic livestock but rather allowed to grow unchecked in order to make hay...

) of Retz a village was formed, which was first mentioned in 1180 as „Rezze“ (slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

; meaning small creek).

Rudolph von Habsburg
Rudolph I of Germany
Rudolph I was King of the Romans from 1273 until his death. He played a vital role in raising the Habsburg dynasty to a leading position among the Imperial feudal dynasties...

 awarded Count Berthold of Rabenswalde (1278 – 1312) shire
A shire is a traditional term for a division of land, found in the United Kingdom and in Australia. In parts of Australia, a shire is an administrative unit, but it is not synonymous with "county" there, which is a land registration unit. Individually, or as a suffix in Scotland and in the far...

 and sovereignty of Hardegg
Hardegg is a town in the district of Hollabrunn in Lower Austria, Austria. It is situated in the Waldviertel region on the river Thaya, directly at the border with the Czech Republic...

 as a fiefdom
A fee was the central element of feudalism and consisted of heritable lands granted under one of several varieties of feudal tenure by an overlord to a vassal who held it in fealty in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the...

. The count did not stay for long in Hardegg, and moved to Retz, where he founded the monastery of the Dominican Order
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 (called Dominikanerkloster). The monastery was finished in 1295. Finally he founded the city of Retz around 1300.

Around 1343 the preacher
Preacher is a term for someone who preaches sermons or gives homilies. A preacher is distinct from a theologian by focusing on the communication rather than the development of doctrine. Others see preaching and theology as being intertwined...

 Franz von Retz was born. He reformed the Dominican Order, taught at the University of Vienna
University of Vienna
The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world...

, was their Dean
Dean (education)
In academic administration, a dean is a person with significant authority over a specific academic unit, or over a specific area of concern, or both...

 for five times, and also represented the university at the Council of Pisa
Council of Pisa
The Council of Pisa was an unrecognized ecumenical council of the Catholic Church held in 1409 that attempted to end the Western Schism by deposing Benedict XIII and Gregory XII...

. He died on September 8, 1427, in Vienna.

In 1425, the Hussite
The Hussites were a Christian movement following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus , who became one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation...

s conquered Retz (November 25), and only a few days later, Schrattenthal
Schrattenthal is a town in the district of Hollabrunn in Lower Austria, Austria....

 and Pulkau
Pulkau is a city in the district of Hollabrunn in Lower Austria, Austria.- External links :* * * * * *...

. The city was destroyed and many people were killed. A chronicle
Generally a chronicle is a historical account of facts and events ranged in chronological order, as in a time line. Typically, equal weight is given for historically important events and local events, the purpose being the recording of events that occurred, seen from the perspective of the...

 from Klosterneuburg
Klosterneuburg is an attractive small town in Lower Austria, Austria with a population of 24,442.It is located on the Danube, immediately north of Vienna, from which it is separated by the Kahlenberg and Leopoldsberg hills...

 reported of 6000 captives, among them Count Heinrich of Maidburg (Hardegg), who were led to Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

. Nearly 8000 men were said to be slain and over 30 Catholic churches destroyed. In 1431 the Hussites came to raid Retz for a second time.

In 1467 the Burgerspitalkapelle ("Citizens' Hospital Chapel"), located between the Verderberhaus and the Znaim
Znojmo is a city in the South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic, near the border with Lower Austria, connected to Vienna by railway and road . The royal city of Znojmo was founded shortly before 1226 by King Ottokar I on the plains in front of Znojmo Castle...

er Tor
,was consecrated. It was secularized in 1783. Today it serves as a museum for the South Moravian
South Moravian Region
South Moravian Region is an administrative unit of the Czech Republic, located in the south-western part of its historical region of Moravia, with exception of Jobova Lhota, that belongs to Bohemia. Its capital is Brno the 2nd largest city of the Czech Republic. The region is famous for its wine...


After the reconstruction of the city Retz was conquered by Matthias Corvinus
Matthias Corvinus of Hungary
Matthias Corvinus , also called the Just in folk tales, was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1458, at the age of 14 until his death...

 on October 10, 1486, after a six-day siege
Siege of Retz
The Siege of Retz was a conflict between the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in 1486. It was part of the Austro-Hungarian War. The Hungarian capture of the town eventually led to the prosperity of its wine industry.-The siege:...

. Until 1492 Retz belonged to his dominion. During that time the city received the privileges concerning the trade of wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 which were responsible for its future wealth. Also as a consequence of these privileges the huge and multi-storied wine cellar system was built. Today it is used for guided tours and serves as the location for a Christmas market during Advent.

16th and 17th century

From 1568 to 1569 the former church on the main square was transformed into the city's town hall by implementing an intermediate ceiling. In the first floor the Marienkapelle was built. The cabinetmaker Jakob Barth of Retz was working for over 30 years on the carvings.

In 1576, the Sgraffitohaus was built. In 1928, the overpainted paintings were discovered and uncovered again.

The eye-catching Verderberhaus originates to the year 1583. It has its name from a family named Verderber which was a very wealthy family in Retz at that time. The family acquired the building in 1848.

The Thirty Year's War brought destruction to the town, and also did the Swedes
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 under Lennart Torstensson, who set up his headquarters in Schrattenthal.

Between 1660 and 1670 the castle of the Suttner-Gatterburg family was built. Today it is home to the bicycle museum of Retz. During the shootings for the TV series Julia - eine außergewöhnliche Frau between 1998 and 2002, the fictional police station was situated there.

In 1680 the Bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 came to the town. The Pestsäule on the main square still recalls this dramatic event.

After 1696 it was permitted to build buildings higher than the city's defensive wall
Defensive wall
A defensive wall is a fortification used to protect a city or settlement from potential aggressors. In ancient to modern times, they were used to enclose settlements...

. This was the reason for the Dominican Order to increase the size of their monastery by a third story.

18th and 19th century

In the years 1701 to 1713 the spire was revamped in the baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 style. Between 1721 to 1728 the church as a whole was enlarged, rebuilt, and revamped in the baroque style. The altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

 showing Saint Stephen
Saint Stephen
Saint Stephen The Protomartyr , the protomartyr of Christianity, is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches....

, painted by Leopold Kupelwieser, dates from the year 1852.

The first windmill
A windmill is a machine which converts the energy of wind into rotational energy by means of vanes called sails or blades. Originally windmills were developed for milling grain for food production. In the course of history the windmill was adapted to many other industrial uses. An important...

 in Retz was entirely built out of wood in 1772. Later, a second windmill, built out of stone, was erected nearby. The second windmill is not used as a windmill anymore, and now serves as a residential house.

In 1831 the wooden windmill was removed and a new windmill was built on the same spot. This is still one of the town's landmarks today, for it is the only fully functional windmill left in Austria. There was also a bricklayer
A bricklayer or mason is a craftsman who lays bricks to construct brickwork. The term also refers to personnel who use blocks to construct blockwork walls and other forms of masonry. In British and Australian English, a bricklayer is colloquially known as a "brickie".The training of a trade in...

 from Lesná u Znojma (South Moravia
South Moravian Region
South Moravian Region is an administrative unit of the Czech Republic, located in the south-western part of its historical region of Moravia, with exception of Jobova Lhota, that belongs to Bohemia. Its capital is Brno the 2nd largest city of the Czech Republic. The region is famous for its wine...

) involved in this project. He used the knowledge he acquired to build a windmill in his hometown, which was later inherited by the son of the miller of Retz. In 1927, the windmill was shut down.
Not far from the windmill the Kalvarienberg
Calvary (sculpture)
A calvary is a type of monumental public crucifix, sometimes encased in an open shrine, most commonly found across northern France from Brittany east and through Belgium and equally familiar as wayside structures provided with minimal sheltering roofs in Italy and Spain...

 is located. It was erected in the years 1727–37 by Jakob Seer.

On November 1, 1871, Retz was connected to the international railway system
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 by the Austrian Northwestern Railway
Austrian Northwestern Railway
The Austrian Northwestern Railway was the name of a former railway company during the time of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy...


In 1896, a Jewish
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 house of prayer was built, which unfortunately does not exist anymore. The local post office
Post office
A post office is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail.Post offices offer mail-related services such as post office boxes, postage and packaging supplies...

 dates from the year 1897.


In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 of the town is Karl Heilinger, chief officer is Andreas Sedlmayer.
In the municipal council
Municipal council
A municipal council is the local government of a municipality. Specifically the term can refer to the institutions of various countries that can be translated by this term...

 there are 25 seats and the distribution of mandates after the municipal council election from March 6, 2005 is as follows:
OVP is a three-letter abbreviation that may refer to:*The Office of the Vice President of the United States*The Office of the Vice President of the Philippines*OVP , a light sub-machine gun developed in Italy...

 16, SPÖ
- Technology :SPO: Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Cloud Computing, Office 365. See Microsoft Online Services-Economics:* Secondary Public Offering, an equity capital market instrument...

 8, Greens 1, other parties no seats.

Twin cities

Retz is twinned with the following cities:
Rötz is a town in the district of Cham, in Bavaria, Germany. It is situated 17 km northwest of Cham, and 30 km east of Schwandorf....

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

Hainburg, Germany
Hainburg is a community of just under 15,800 in the Offenbach district in the Regierungsbezirk of Darmstadt in Hesse, Germany.-Location:Hainburg is one of 13 towns and communities in the Offenbach district. The town lies at the edge of the Frankfurt Rhine Main Region on the bank of the Main. It...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

Znojmo is a city in the South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic, near the border with Lower Austria, connected to Vienna by railway and road . The royal city of Znojmo was founded shortly before 1226 by King Ottokar I on the plains in front of Znojmo Castle...

, Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

Historical buildings

  • Hauptplatz (main square) with Pranger (pillory
    The pillory was a device made of a wooden or metal framework erected on a post, with holes for securing the head and hands, formerly used for punishment by public humiliation and often further physical abuse, sometimes lethal...

    ), town hall, Verderberhaus and Sgraffitohaus. Beneath the Hauptplatz is the extensive wine cellar system
  • Gatterburg castle
  • Dominikanerkirche and monastery (Dominican church)
  • Parish church
    Parish church
    A parish church , in Christianity, is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish, the basic administrative unit of episcopal churches....

     Saint Stephen
  • Windmill of Retz
  • Calvary
  • Military cemetery built in 1979 where all German soldiers who fell in the Weinviertel are buried together since then


  • Fahrradmuseum (bicycle museum) at Gatterburg castle
  • Retzer Erlebniskeller ("Adventure wine cellar"), one of the biggest cellar systems in Mitteleuropa
    Mitteleuropa is the German term equal to Central Europe. The word has political, geographic and cultural meaning. While it describes a geographical location, it also is the word denoting a political concept of a German-dominated and exploited Central European union that was put into motion during...

  • Museum Retz (museum of local history and South Moravian gallery)


  • Weintage ("Wine days") - annual, 10 days from Corpus Christi
    Corpus Christi (feast)
    Corpus Christi is a Latin Rite solemnity, now designated the solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ . It is also celebrated in some Anglican, Lutheran and Old Catholic Churches. Like Trinity Sunday and the Solemnity of Christ the King, it does not commemorate a particular event in...

  • Weinlesefest ("Grape harvest festival") - annual, Friday to Sunday on the last weekend of September
  • Kürbisfest im Retzer Land ("Pumpkin festival") in the region around Retz

Economy and infrastructure

Retz is a traditional trading city and is best known for its dealing in wines.

There are 206 non-agricultural workplaces as of 2001, and 315 agricultural workplaces as of 1999. The number of gainful persons is 1,709 according to the census of 2001. The activity rate was 42.08 percent.

Inhabitant growth

According to the 2001 census, Retz has 4,168 inhabitants. Back in 1991, there were 4,284 inhabitants, in 1981 4,333, and 4,927 inhabitants in 1971.
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