The history of Gumpoldskirchen
The village of Gumpoldskirchen is located next to Vienna and one of the most famous wine villages of Austria, whose winemaking tradition goes back to the 12th/13th century. Even in the earliest sources of local history vineyards are mentioned. The place was first mentioned in 1140 in the possession of the Babenberg and evolved during the Middle Ages into a major wine market, which was fixed with four gates and trenches. As one of the four princely “spell markets” Gumpoldskirchen was – next to Langenlois, Mödling and Perchtoldsdorf – represented in parliament in the 15th century.
The wealth and self confidence of the winemakers could be seen in the renaissance houses of the 16th century and especially the town hall with its arcades on the ground and first floor, which was built from the judge Mang Karner in 1559. The pillory set up next to the Town Hall (1563) was originally a Roman way-pillar. Part of the picturesque ensemble in the center of the village is the market well with a Roman sarcophagus basin (around 1700).
Northeast of the town is one of Austria’s oldest wineries, called Freigut Thallern (www.klosterweingut-thallern.at). Many other monasteries, including Zwettl and Melk, had and still have vineyards in Gumpoldskirchen.
A landmark of the village is the castle of the Teutonic Order and the adjacent church – originally a castle church. The parish was founded around 1200 as a “branch” of Traiskirchen and then soon independent (around. 1216). In 1241 the last duke of the Babenberg Frederick II gave the castle and church to the Teutonic Order, who is still established in Gumpoldskirchen and takes over thepastoral care of the parish. At the end of the 14th Century it was transformed into a Gothic hall church with a huge west tower. After the destruction caused by the Hungarians (1446) and Turks (1529) the church and the castle were extended to a church-fortress with a moat and a fortified wall. The medieval castle in the core was rebuilt and expanded several times, most recently in 1931. At that time the four wings were raised by one floor and changed significantly. In the course of the dispossession of the Order in the Nazi era, the castle was the “first empire winery” (1938). After the war the ownership was given back to the Order and was used until the 1980s as a home for old nurses. Since its refurbishment in 1998/99, it is again the seat of the friars and it is used for seminars and conferences as well as a hotel!
Since the end of the 18th century the industrialization came to Gumpoldskirchen too (including silk factory, button factory, oil factory and a paper mill). Especially along the “Wiener Neustadt” channel and the railway plants settled, some of them until the second half of the 20th century. The Gumpoldskirchner lead factory closed in 1976, the leather factory had to close because of an environmental scandal by the pressure of the population in 1988.
But the dominant industry in the 19th century was still the wine-growing industry, which makes the presence of phylloxera, one in the second half of the 19th Century from North America entrained aphid relative, led to an economic disaster. The destruction of the vineyards in the 1880s prompted the creation of the wine and fruit school in Gumpoldskirchen, which opened in 1898 and has grown into one of the leading agricultural colleges in Austria. It was also a merit of the “Kaiser Franz Joseph anniversary wine school” that the vines could be saved.
About a century after the phylloxera the glycol scandal shook the wine industry in 1985 and subsequently led to increased investment in the quality of production, so the quality of the Gumpoldskirchner wines grew better and better with lots of awards.