The Count was also a generous philanthropist, founding the Vienna Ambulance Company and co-founding the Rudolfinerhaus, a private hospital with Thomas Bilroth, a Vienna pioneer of modern surgery.
We spy Burg Kreuzenstein at least twice a week going to and coming from the barn, and whenever we point the wagon in a northern direction on the autobahn. The castle is about ten minutes from Vienna.
One day last fall we attempted to visit but the castle was closed for the season. Recently curiosity got the better of me while out and about and so I wound my way up through the village of Leobersdorf to see what I could see. Alas, the castle can be toured only at appointed times, and I was outside the range for the next tour, but at least I could walk around the grounds.
The castle belonged to a noble Polish family and Austrian aristocrat in the days of the Empire. Count Wilczek was the wealthiest entrepreneur of the Hapsburg kingdom, owning the largest coal mine in the empire at the time.
Count Wilczek also sponsored the first Austrian Arctic Expedition in 1872; two islands discovered during the expedition bear his name. He was knighted into the Order of the Golden Fleece by Kaiser Franz Josef I, and the City of Vienna made him an honorary citizen.
Though I did not get to tour the castle (again), I did take time to enjoy a rich bowl of Spargelcremesuppe at the Burg Tavern and the view over the Vienna Woods from atop one of my people’s castles.