Lower Austria

Dating from the 13th century, this former castle was turned into a military academy in the mid-18th century (founded by Empress Maria Theresia) and was even commanded by the young Rommel in his pre–‘Desert Fox’ days. The academy was completely rebuilt after WWII, and its real highlight is St-Georgs-Kathedrale, with a fine late-Gothic interior. Maximilian I, who was born in the castle, is buried under the altar. Entry to the church is on the south side (register with the guard).

The eastern wall of the church is packed with heraldic coats of arms dating from 1453 and was the only part of the building to survive WWII unscathed. The relief depicts a genealogy of Austrian rulers. Only 19 of the heraldic arms are real – the rest were invented by Peter von Pusica, the artisan who created it.