© Photo: Oberösterreich Tourismus GmbH./Robert Maybach: Enjoy the view in Upper Austria
Enjoy the view in Upper Austria


Mauthausen, Oberösterreich, Österreich
  • pets allowed
  • All weather
  • Suitable for groups
  • Suitable for pushchairs
  • Suitable for kids (all ages)

The pillory was the symbol of the lower courts in Mauthausen in the 16th and 17th centuries.
It originally stood opposite the brewery. Around 1800 - after this type of punishment was discontinued - the pillory was taken down and erected in 1905, initially near Heinrichskirche church and in 1936 at its current location on the market square. The 220 cm high square shaft is crowned by a pyramid with pine cones. All four sides are decorated with flat reliefs. These refer to various offences. In most cases, the offences were minor frauds, false weights, brawls, quarrelsome women, cheating and the like. The signs could not yet be assigned to the individual offences. On one side you can recognise the so-called "poor sinner's head". The number 1583 is engraved at the top of the shaft.

The pillory of Mauthausen

The market square in Mauthausen was bustling with life. It was market day. Many stalls were set up in long rows. Merchants and small traders offered their wares. There was much to buy: fine cloth, beautiful linen, expensive furs and good leather, but also all kinds of tools and foodstuffs such as salt, honey, grain and wine.

The children liked the treats best. Traders had come from all over the country to do good business here.

People crowded between the stalls. They often chose and bargained for a long time before deciding on a purchase.

Suddenly, everything stopped. A loud drum roll sounded across the square "What's up?" some shouted. One man already knew what to say: "They've caught someone stealing; he'll have to go to the pillory!"

Lisbeth and Georg, who had just been marvelling at the beautiful goods on display, ran to the pillory on the upper market square. The market guard stood next to the four metre high square granite pillar, in which all kinds of signs were carved, and rounded up the people. He looked sternly at the trembling man chained to the pillory. The thief kept his pale face lowered to the ground in shame.

Curious people streamed in from all sides. "What has he done?" whispered Lisbeth. She almost felt sorry for him. Georg replied: "He probably stole something and thought no one would notice in the crowd. But we'll hear in a moment, the market clerk is coming."

The market clerk stood in front of the market guards. With a wave of his hand, he commanded the onlookers to be quiet. Then, in a loud voice, he announced the judgement that the market judge had passed on the thief. The dishonest man had to stand in the pillory until the evening to atone for his guilt.

After the verdict was read out, the bystanders shouted at the condemned man. They pointed their fingers at him and reviled him loudly. The prisoner had to endure everything in silence. He was guarded until the evening. The market guards only freed the thief from his chains after the ringing of the bell. He quickly made his escape.

Not only thieves had to stand in the pillory. Back then, Mauthausen was already a market with market rules that had to be followed by all inhabitants. Every injustice was punished by the market judge. Vagrants who refused to work, traders who sold bad goods or used too small a weight, people who quarrelled, fought and publicly insulted each other and those who lived excessively were also put in the pillory.

In later times, pillorying was abolished. However, pillory pillars are still preserved in many places.

  • always open (24/7)
  • open to the public

Travelling by public transport
Route planner for independent travellers
  • All weather
  • Suitable for groups
  • Suitable for schools
  • Suitable for kids (all ages)
  • Suitable for pushchairs
  • Pets allowed
  • Suitable for teenagers
  • Suitable for seniors
  • Suitable for single travelers
  • Suitable for friends
  • Suitable for couples
  • Suitable for children
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
  • Winter

Please get in touch for more information.

  • ground level accessible


4310 Mauthausen

Phone +43 7238 2243
mobile +43 7238 2255
E-Mail info@mauthausen.info
Web www.mauthausentourismus.com

Legal contact information

Marktgemeinde Mauthausen
AT-4310 Mauthausen

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