Home of the first Mangalitsas in Austria
Castle Herberstein in Austria where Mangalitsa history is written.
Most people visiting this romantic palace and animal park, probably have no idea of its connection to the modern day revival of the Mangalitsa pig.
Over 180,000 visitors a year walk through the doors of this registered private zoo, a paradise for young families with children, where you can see a variety of animals from all over the world in outdoor settings. Styrian hill country is beautiful to start with, and the Herberstein Animal Park certainly makes for a most relaxing setting.
What is unique about these surroundings here is the beautifully preserved palace, initially looking like an artist has painted it into the landscape. Going back to the 12th century, created as a castle for living, not strictly as a defensive structure, it was never attacked and destroyed. Over the centuries, it was transformed into this magnificent, romantic palace, still in private hands but no longer lived in, now open to the public.
Taking a guided tour from one of the dozens, in my case Susanne, an art history graduate from the University in Graz, provides you with quite an insite into the wealth and power the Herberstein family once represented. Hard to imagine how much Mangalitsa lard must have been used in the palace kitchen, or how many pigs in total were turned into sumptuous meals during the glory days of the Austro-Hungarian empire before the outbreak of World War I.