Local customs and Castle on a little mountain in the Rhine Valley

Balzers Travel Blog

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I awakened to a blanket of new fallen snow and more coming down. What a magical view out my window…..snow falling in the Alps, isn’t what we all dream of seeing.

I had a little breakfast in my room and then walked to the bus stop closest to the gasthof (Au).

Today I wanted to see some more of the amazing country’s history, as well as nature.

I took the bus to Balzers (2.60 CHF)which is at the southernmost point of the country. I exited the bus at a beautiful white tower, the Alter Kirchturm.

The "Foehn" is said to be the "most tempestuous inhabitant of Balzers".

A great many things can be attributed to the warm southwesterly wind. It ensures that the vines thrive and has been the cause of many a conflagration.

In terms of history and appearance, the Castle of Gutenberg represents the center of the village. It is built on a hill and surrounded by the church, schools and the town hall.

Balzers is the starting-point for many excursions and walks - for example to the nearby GraubĂĽnden.

 

From the map of the city, I was able to determine what my options were for getting to my second stop, Sehenswurdigkeiten, also known as Gutenberghaus. It’s an amazing castle on a bump of a mountain in an otherwise flat plain that extends to the Rhine.

I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

I started my walk through town. I found some incredible houses which must have been many hundreds of years old, if not older. There were large ones with barns attached and some stone ones with weathered plaster. It became a common sight to see panes of glass broken out in some windows even in homes obviously occupied, strange.

I noticed the many of the hearts that I read about at the Landesmuseum in Vaduz. They were created each year when the cows are brought back home. This is a big thing for this country and it is celebrated with a festival. The hearts are put on the barn where the cows have safely come home

In the distance, I could see the castle….it looked like a picture out of a history book or one telling stories of fairies. The snowy mist added to the aura of magic.

Walking through the town’s center, different houses showcasing wood carved decorations and bright accent colors showed a different period for the country’s architecture.

 

I turned a corner and walked down a wider street than in the center and approached an open field. The Pharrkirche St. Nicholas stood proud with its grand Neo-Roman architecture and the castle in the background.

I walked though the church’s gate to the town cemetery. I walked through and then up the old massive stone stairs to the side of the church. The wooden ceiling and capital details above the stone columns were beautifully crafted.

I found the front of the church and was dazzled by the jewel-toned mosaics on it’s façade. This church was meant to impress. I pushed on the front door and it opened. Some of the churches that I have visited here have been locked and no way to enter. I’m glad that this one was open.

The interior was actually smaller than the exterior would have you think.

Also, it is quite plain and has more modern colored glass windows.                     

From 1209, the monastery Churwalden in Balzers owned a farm, from 1222 with the chapel. 1305 erwarb der auf Burg Gutenberg wohnende Minnesänger Heinrich von Frauenberg das Patronatsrecht der damals zur Pfarrkirche erhobenen Kapelle. 1305 acquired the dwelling on Gutenberg Castle minnesingers Heinrich von Frauenberg the advowson was then raised to the church chapel. Von 1314 bis 1824 besass das Haus Habsburg Gutenberg und damit das Recht, den Pfarrer der Balzner Pfarrkirche St. Nikolaus zu bestimmen. From 1314 to 1824 owned the house of Habsburg Gutenberg, and thus determine the right to Balzner pastor of the parish church of St. Nicholas.

Beides gelangte durch Kauf an die Gemeinde. Both came by purchase to the community.

Now on to the berg! I walked to the main street at the end of the chruch’s property and just walked along the side of the mountain. Just past a stream, I a little walker’s/hiker’s sign that said Schlossweg, (castle path). I followed and the steep winding cobbled stone path began the ascent. I followed this up to a little hotel compound created from several large old farmhouses.

The path was strictly dirt from this point on, and mostly covered with snow. As I climbed around, the clouds lessened a bit and revealed a beautiful valley between the mountain ranges in the distance.

Along the side of the mountain all the way up, there were tall stakes and wires….for growing grape vines as this is along the Rhine, wine country.

Continuing my ascending spiral, my panoramic view now changed to the church and Balzers, so quaint and peaceful. The castle was getting closer.

Magical and mysterious, and free standing on all sides, Gutenberg Castle - the emblem of Balzers - towers over the village and community of Balzers on a 70 metre high spur of rock.

Gutenberg Castle in Balzers was built in the 13th century. Gutenberg has played a central role in local cultural history ever since the Bronze Age, if not before. After many years of being in private ownership the Liechtenstein government acquired the castle in 1979.

 

Ok! I had made my way to the top.

The castle is under a great deal of renovation at the moment so, I knew that it would probably be quite the mess. I walked through the gate and into the courtyard. The first sight that captured my attention was a tall bronze sculpture of a horse. It had a golden face and little golden wings behind it’s upper neck….strange but, really interesting. I like it!

So, yes there were a lot of building materials laying around but, I just tried not to photograph them.

The view from the terrace was fantastic. All of the city and the plains and the mountains of Liechtenstein and Switzerland lay before me. I took a little video to share….everyone just had to see this in a better way than just a picture.

Ok, time to go back down the mountain and make my way to the bus stop for my next destination, Treissen

The climb/slide down was a more harrowing experience than up but, no injuries were sustained.

I walked through a different part of town…..being a bit directionally challenged at that moment but it turned out for the best. I ended up in an open field, a large one. From here I was able to get a great distance shot of the castle. I was up there!!!

My bus stop was just off the field so….a great find and only had to wait 10 minutes!!! Oh, I almost forgot, on my way to the field I passed an old fashioned chicken coup…..look at the pic. The poor chickens saw me and thought I was there with food…..sorry chicks!!!

dieforu says:
yeah really looks like mystic place
Posted on: Feb 04, 2010
delsol67 says:
Thanks, It was an interesting place. I want to go back.
Posted on: Feb 04, 2010
dieforu says:
woow great blog!!!
Posted on: Feb 04, 2010
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Balzers
photo by: delsol67