Posted in:

Schattenburg – the landmark of Feldkirch

© by Ana Lucia Marcos

This well-preserved medieval castle towers over the town of Feldkirch in Vorarlberg. We recommend a tour of the castle’s museum before exploring lovely historic Feldkirch.

Any historical town with respect for itself should have a castle, and Feldkirch has the Schattenburg. Although there has been documented a settlement on-site for more than 2000 years, the “town” Feldkirch was built together with the castle in the early 13th century. We found the Schattenburg well worth the entrance fee and learned a lot about life in the Middle Age’s in a region. Hence, let’s have a quick look at what the castle has experienced throughout the centuries.

Occupied by the Swedes

Schattenburg is one of Austria’s best-preserved medieval castles. In the 15th century, the castle was involved in several wars. Moreover, it was destroyed and rebuilt several times. In 1647, the town Feldkirch and the Schattenburg were occupied by Swedish troops, who participated in the Thirty Years’ War and fought against French forces in the area. The Swedes did fare nicely with their foes’ and demanded not only war reparations but also that the  local inhabitants maintain the castle. However, in 1648 the war was over and the Swedes went home.

Barracks and poorhouse

In the 18th century, mediaeval castles had largely outplayed their function as both residences of the noble and as military installations, and many were abandoned. There are more ruins of castles in Austria than there are well-preserved ones. Fortunately, Schattenburg was rescued from ruin and taken over by the town of Feldkirch in 1825. Before the castle was finally converted into a museum and historic building, it served as military barracks and poorhouse during the 1800s. Today Schattenburg houses far more peaceful and less sinister tenants, a museum and a restaurant.

  • Vorarlberg, Austria
    schattenburg9
    Schattenburg Castle rises above the town Feldkirch. It's not only worth a visit because of the views, but also for the interesting museum it houses. Photo: Ana Lucia Marcos ©
  • Schattenburg, Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, Austria
    schattenburg2
    The courtyard also houses a restaurant and café where you can relax after a walk around the castle and museum. Photo: Ana Lucia Marcos ©
  • Schattenburg, Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, Austria
    feldkirch7
    A painting in the castle museum give you an impression of how Faldkirch looked a few hundred years back. Photo: Arnold Weisz ©
  • Schattenburg, Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, Austria
    schattenburg1
    Schattenburg has one of Austria's largest weapons collections, and exhibits weapons from several eras. Photo: Ana Lucia Marcos ©
  • Schattenburg, Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, Austria
    schattenburg3
    The museum at the Schattenburg Castle gives you a little insight into the life at the castle in the Middle Ages. Photo: Ana Lucia Marcos ©
  • Schattenburg, Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, Austria
    schattenburg4
    Much of the interior of the castle is original and restored. Photo: Ana Lucia Marcos ©
  • Schattenburg, Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, Austria
    schattenburg5
    It was a tough job cooking in a medieval kitchen. Photo: Ana Lucia Marcos ©
  • Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, Historic small towns in Austria
    feldkirch3
    Surrounded by hills, you will find a lot of nice viewspoints around Feldkirch. Here from Schattenburg Castle. Photo: Ana Lucia Marcos ©

Interesting museum

We visited the castle one morning during the week, and apart from a children’s school class we had the place to ourselves. You don’t have to be super interested in medieval history to enjoy a tour around the castle and museum for an hour or two. Moreover, most of the museum is devoted to life at the castle for hundreds of years, and a great deal of the interior is still original. We also enjoyed the exhibitions that do not have a direct connection with the castle itself, such as a “lock museum” and a large collection of weapons. Furthermore, some of the exhibits present the local history of the region as well. There are also activities specially designed for children.

Perfect day-trip

Located just 38 km from Bregenz, or 60 km from Lech am Arlberg, Schattenburg is well-suited for a day trip. In addition to visiting the castle you should also take a tour around the beautiful old town of Feldkirch, which is only a few minutes’ walk from the castle. In the castle you will also find a restaurant.

  • Burg Strechau, Styria, Austria

    Posted in:

    Burg Strechau – Renaissance Castle & vintage cars

    If you are travelling on the A9 motorway from the south in the direction of Voralpenkreuz (A1) in the vincinity of Rottenmann, you cannot miss the castle at the top of the cliff. The red and white painted window shutters, defence walls and towers had fit well as a movie backdrop in a Hollywood movie. […]

    Read more

  • Hiking on Schneeberg in Austria

    Posted in:

    Schneeberg – Family-friendly mountain hiking

    The highest mountain of Lower Austria, Schneeberg (Snow Mountain), with its 2,076-metre (6.811 ft) high summit Klosterwappen, offers family friendly hiking and stunning views. Only about 80 kms (50 mi) from Vienna it’s a popular hiking destination for the Viennese, as well as for travellers. Hence, I boarded the yellow and green salamander train and headed up to Schneeberg. Arriving […]

    Read more

  • Posted in:

    The best boat trips in Austria

    We have been cruising the lakes in order to find the best boat trips in Austria. Passenger boats have been criss-crossing Austrian lakes for centuries. In the beginning to serve the communities on the lake shores, but since the 18th century also on tourist cruises. Some of the lakes still have historic cruises with steam […]

    Read more

Advertisements

Share, , Google Plus, Pinterest,

Written by Arnold Weisz

Arnold Weisz

Globetrotting multilingual communications specialist born in Vienna, Austria – with passion for scuba diving, golf and culinary delights! 15 years of experience as a scuba- and travel reporter for among others: X-Ray Dive Magazine and Dykking.