To start off this blog, here is the link of the video that I have made about the Vaduz Castle. If you prefer to watch than to read the history behind this historic site you can check it out. The country we will be visiting is Liechtenstein, one of the world’s smallest micro-states which lies in between Switzerland and Austria.
Anyway if you prefer reading let us begin. From Germany we drove down to Switzerland and like most European Union members, its easy to enter the country. We drove down to Konstanz by the Untersee and entered several small towns and after an hour or two from the German border, we have passed through fields, hills and villages.
We have finally got a glimpse of the state of Liechtenstein. We drove by the Rhine River and entered the country through the Buchs and Vaduz bridge. Liechtenstein is a small principality that has many historic sites, the most famous of which is Vaduz Castle.
We drove into the city which looked like a small city and not what a capital city would look like. There were people walking the streets and vehicles driving around with their non EU plate designs. We drove to the main road and up the Prince Franz Joseph Street up the hill and after several turns on a winding road we saw the clear fields and stone wall of the Vaduz Castle.
We tried looking for a parking but it was full so we drove up the mountain and finally found one. We parked and with the whole family, we strolled down the hill to the castle. So here is the beginning of its history.
“The stronghold possibly dates back to the 12th century , but the first recorded reference to the stronghold was in 1322. It was built as a fortress to control the key Alpine Pass and trade routes and was acquired by the counts of Werdenberg-Sargans, who were powerful nobles in nearby Switzerland. The castle was also used to control the local population.
The principality was once part of the Holy Roman Empire . In the 16 th century, the castle was burned down by the Swiss Confederacy during the Swabian War. In 1712 the castle came into the possession of the Liechtenstein family, a noble family from Lower Austria. They lived in the castle and made it their official residence in 1732.
The castle fell into disrepair and was virtually a ruin due to factors such as the Napoleonic Wars and economic problems. The Liechtenstein family no longer resided in the castle by the start of the 20 th century.”
We reached the outside of the castle and since its still a private residence, we took the time of taking pictures of the exterior from the gates, garden, tower and the fortress itself. We admired this historical structure and after that we followed a wooded trail down the city. As we walked, we passed by a vista point overlooking the entire capital and it was a sight to behold. As we admired this scenery here is the rest of the castle’s history.
“During the 19 th century, because of a legal issue related to the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire , the principality became a sovereign state . In the early 20 th century, Prince Franz Josef II extended the castle and once again made it fit for living. In 1939 he took up fulltime residence in the principality and adopted Vaduz Castle as his family residence and permanent home.
In the post-war period Liechtenstein, which had been neutral in WWII, suffered a severe economic recession . This led the prince to sell off some of the castle’s art and other valuables. However, the principality used a low corporate tax regime to modernize the economy. Today, the Prince of Liechtenstein and his family still reside in the castle and the prince remains the head of state. It should be noted that the castle gave its name to the nearby town of Vaduz.”
We continued down the trail and along the way we saw some information about the castle and the royal family through signs posted along the way. The path full trees helped us keep shaded from the summer heat and there was barely any wind. There were benches to sit on when you feel tired but since its downhill we didn’t have a hard time walking. Here are some more information about the structure of the castle.
The Age and Design of Vaduz Castle
“Vaduz Castle was built on a mount that overlooks the modern capital of Liechtenstein. Its mainly the eastern side of the fortress and parts of the eastern walls that date back to the 12th century. The bergfried (the keep) was built in the 12th century and may have been the first part of the fortress that was erected. This round keep was constructed as the inner stronghold. The tower measures 40 by 43 feet (12 by 13m) with a base of 12 feet (3.5 m) thick.
The inner courtyard is faced by a number of buildings as well as the royal family’s residence . The original entrance, which is flanked by round towers , can still be seen.”
We ended up in a neighborhood with their solar roofs and downhill road and we followed straight down to the main town square and when we got there, we saw a view of the Vaduz Castle by the cliff. It was still beautiful even though it was far. Actually, it looked more majestic hanging by the mountainside.
Here are the links for more information: