Local customs and Castle on a little mountain in the Rhine Valley
Balzers Travel Blog› entry 6 of 15 › view all entries
I awakened to a blanket of new fallen snow and more coming down. What a magical view out my windowâ€¦..snow falling in the Alps, isnâ€™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 countryâ€™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".
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. Itâ€™s an amazing castle on a bump of a mountain in an otherwise flat plain that extends to the Rhine.
Iâ€™m getting a bit ahead of myself.
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 castleâ€¦.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 townâ€™s center, different houses showcasing wood carved decorations and bright accent colors showed a different period for the countryâ€™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 churchâ€™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 itâ€™s faĂ§ade. 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. Iâ€™m glad that this one was open.
The interior was actually smaller than the exterior would have you think.
From 1209, the monastery Churwalden in Balzers owned a farm, from 1222 with the chapel. 1305 erwarb der auf Burg Gutenberg wohnende MinnesĂ¤nger 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.
Now on to the berg! I walked to the main street at the end of the chruchâ€™s property and just walked along the side of the mountain. Just past a stream, I a little walkerâ€™s/hikerâ€™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 wiresâ€¦.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.
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 shareâ€¦.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 townâ€¦..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 soâ€¦.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 coupâ€¦..look at the pic. The poor chickens saw me and thought I was there with foodâ€¦..sorry chicks!!!