Gutenberg Castle

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Gutenberg Castle
Burg Gutenberg (in German)
2008-05-19 Balzers Liechtenstein 5472.jpg
General information
LocationBalzers, Liechtenstein
Coordinates47°03′55″N 9°30′00″E / 47.0652°N 9.5001°E / 47.0652; 9.5001Coordinates: 47°03′55″N 9°30′00″E / 47.0652°N 9.5001°E / 47.0652; 9.5001
Construction startedaround 1100
OwnerMunicipality of Balzers and the Principality of Liechtenstein

Gutenberg Castle (German: Burg Gutenberg) is an intact castle in the town of Balzers, Liechtenstein, in the centre of the municipality of Balzers, the southern-most municipality in the country. Gutenberg is one of the five castles of the principality and one of two that have survived intact until the present day.

Unlike Vaduz Castle, Gutenberg Castle does not serve as a residence of the princely family of Liechtenstein and is open to the general public as a museum. The castle lies on a 70 meter high free-standing rock near the centre of Balzers and is accessible via a street and road known as Burgweg.[1][2]


The first written record of the castle's name dates to 1296.[clarification needed]


The castle hill has been inhabited since the neolithic period. Archaeological excavations have uncovered several prehistoric artifacts, including the 12 cm (5 in) Mars von Gutenberg figurine, now on display in the Liechtenstein National Museum.[1][3]


Gutenberg Castle began its existence as a medieval church and cemetery on a hilltop. In the early 12th century, the cemetery was cancelled and fortification of the former church structure slowly began with the addition of a ring wall, forming a simple, roughly circular keep. During the 12th century, several additions followed, in particular the creation of the main tower by raising the height of the existing keep. Later on, the tower was fitted with merlons. In the 12th and early 13th century, the castle was owned by the lords of Frauenberg, a noble family from the Swiss canton of Graubünden. After the death of Heinrich von Frauenburg in 1314, the castle became the property of the House of Habsburg. It was then used primarily for guarding the borderlands between the local Habsburg-owned territories and those belonging to the independent Swiss cantons.

At the turn of the 15th century, the castle underwent extensive new construction works as part of an initiative by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I to repair the damage inflicted upon the castle by a siege in 1499, during the Swabian War. Gutenberg Castle was equipped until 1537 with a drawbridge, which had to be dismantled due to storm damage that year. It was never replaced. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the castle ceased to be used for military purposes and was damaged by several fires. It was still being used as a residence around 1750. After a fire in 1795 that greatly damaged Balzers, the castle ruins were used as a source of building material for the reconstruction of the town. The castle was purchased and slightly repaired by the town in 1824, then sold in 1854 to Princess Franziska of Liechtenstein.

The castle underwent substantial restoration between 1905 and 1912, under the supervision of its new owner, Vaduz-born architect Egon Rheinberger. This restoration added a number of new structures and buildings to the lower parts of the castle (see ground plan in references section for more details). After Rheinberger's death in 1936, the castle was rented by the municipality for various events and guests, until it was offered for sale in 1951. In 1979, the castle was purchased by the Principality of Liechtenstein for state and museum purposes. However, the last of the former private owners held her inherited rights to live in the castle until her death in 2001.[4][5][6][7]


The bailey (Vorburg) of the castle is open to visitors free of charge all year round. The castle's chapel and rose garden, reconstructed in 2010, are accessible free of charge every Sunday between 10:00 and 19:00 during the summer tourist season (1 May – 31 October). Guided tours of Gutenberg Castle and its renting for weddings and cultural events are available only during the summer tourist season and need to be arranged in advance by appointment.[1][8][9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Principality of Liechtenstein: Travel, holidays, vacations - Activities - Popular sights & the countryside: Gutenberg Castle in Balzers". 31 March 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Photos of Gutenberg Castle". 2013-01-07. Archived from the original on 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
  3. ^ "Article about a visit to the castle". 2013-01-05. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
  4. ^ Cornelia Herrmann (2007). "Die Kunstdenkmäler des Fürstentums Liechtenstein. Das Oberland". Gesellschaft für Schweizerische Kunstgeschichte GSK: Die Kunstdenkmäler der Schweiz (in German). Bern. ISBN 978-3-906131-85-6.
  5. ^ "Gutenberg Castle on" (in German). 2016-01-22. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  6. ^ "Ground plan of Gutenberg Castle on" (in German). 2016-01-22. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  7. ^ "History of Gutenberg Castle at the official website of the municipality of Balzers" (in German). 2013-01-10. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
  8. ^ "Photo gallery of Liechtenstein and Luxembourg castles, including photos of Gutenberg Castle" (in German). 2013-01-05. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
  9. ^ "Article about Gutenberg Castle". 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2013-04-14.

External links[edit]