THE CASTLE ON THE WAY INTO PAZNAUN

The road into Paznaun leads through a monumental gate. As soon as you have crossed the Trisanna Bridge, you head for See, Kappl, Ischgl or Galtür. But at the end of the very interesting railway bridge, there is a no less interesting building: Wiesberg Castle. Here’s the story – and some incredible historical photos.

On the postcards of the Bregenz-based Risch-Lau photo studio dating from the fifties and sixties, the major technical achievement of the Trisanna Bridge is still in the foreground.

PhOTO: RISCH-LAU collection, VORARLBERG state library

The postcards in the collection of the Austrian National Library, on the other hand, highlight the strategic position and beauty of Wiesberg Castle.

phOTO: austrian national library.

The castle was probably built in the 13th century by the Bishopric of Chur. At the end of the 14th century, it was the fiefdom of the Counts of Tyrol and therefore owned by the powerful Rottenburgers, whose ancestral castle could be found above Rotholz in the Lower Inn Valley. When the line died out in 1411, Wiesberg became a royal estate and was mortgaged several times, most recently in 1770 to the Counts of Wolkenstein, in whose hands it remained until 1840. In 1809, a furious battle between Bavarian troops and several hundred armed men from Paznaun and Stanzertal took place near the castle.

The mighty keep, built within curtain walls up to 2.7m thick, was built up in 1908, and covered with a pyramidal roof. A 15th century wing connects it to a small, square great hall, the southern wall of which is enlivened by a bay supported by corbels. In the north-west curtain wall there is a late Gothic chapel dedicated to Our Lady, built in 1420 and newly consecrated in 1602, with ceiling paintings and glass windows dating from the beginning of the 20th century.

The bad news: only the exterior of the beautiful castle can be seen as a tourist attraction. Today, Wiesberg Castle is privately owned and can only be viewed from the outside.