Once "strongly feuded for, fiercely hard-fought for", the Kufstein Fortress is located in the middle of the city. For a long time, the Kufstein Fortress was an important stronghold at the entrance of the Alps. This mighty landmark, which can be seen from far away, towers above the city on the north-south axis of the elongated dolomite cliffs. The history of this fortification is a part of the history of warfare and a manifestation of the transformation of weapon technology.
Due to the lack of written records, the earliest form of the fortress, which was a relatively small structure resembling more of a castle, from around 1000 to the middle of the 13th century can no longer be accurately reconstructed. The fortress was first mentioned in historical documentation as "castrum choufstain" in 1205 in an agreement between Bishop Konrad von Regensburg and Duke Ludwig of Bavaria.
Margarethe von Tirol-Görz, better known as "Maultasch", obtained the castle in 1342 as a royal gift. This was followed by Bavarian invasions and wars of succession. Two men are irrevocably linked with the Kufstein Fortress. One was Hans von Pienzenau, who was appointed as the caretaker and keeper of the castle in 1500. The other was Emperor Maximilian I, whose artillery fired iron cannons at the castle in 1504 thus completely destroying the city wall and fortified towers and conquering the castle for himself.
After conquering the fortress, this was followed by a flurry of building activity including the construction of the Kaiserturm tower. Maximilian I died before completion of the tower in 1522. It is interesting to note that with this tower, the castle became a fortress. Between 1703 and 1813, the fortress was sieged and conquered back and forth between Bavaria and Austria until Kufstein and Tyrol were awarded to Austria in 1814. At the end of the 18th and 19th century, the Kufstein Fortress was used as a prison. It has been in the possession of Kufstein since they acquired it in 1924.
Today, the Kufstein Fortress offers individual tours, guided visits, and a lift to help with the ascent. It also features museum facilities including the fortress museum and museum of local history, temporary special exhibits and multimedia exhibits, as well as performances of the Heldenorgel (Heroes' Organ) in the tower. The organ plays daily at midday. With numerous events in the Kaiserturm and the festungsarena with a retractable roof, the Kufstein Fortress is a wonderful event and concert location.
With the event series "Christmas magic at the Kufstein Fortress", "Knight's Festival", Operetta Summer, and concerts by external organizers, the Kufstein Fortress has awoken from its deep slumber to become a magnet for locals, guests, and visitors of the city.