History of Triesen, Liechtenstein

Triesen's past is well documented by the research of its historians. Different publications on the history of Triesen can be seen in the parish offices.

"The demise of Trisona"

The legend of the "demise of Trisona" states that Triesen was once a beautiful city, whose inhabitant lived such sinful lives that the city was destroyed as a punishment by a Ruefe (rockfall channels down the mountain sides) and everyone died with the exception of one righteous woman and her two children. Whether the story is founded in historical fact is unclear, but we do know that today's Triesen stands on the debris cones of an post ice-age landslide.

First mentioned between 1094 and 1101

Birdseye view of TriesenDuring occupation by the Celts, Räter, Romans and then the Allemanics, settlements were made in the area, and the name "Trisun" appears around 900 AD.

The first evidence of Triesen in written documents appeared in 1155. Modern research, however, has shown that this document was a falsification from the late 13th Century. Further research showed the oldest actual documentation of the place name dates from between 1094 and 1101. The question is why this was not always considered the oldest documentation of the name? The answer is simple: The older historical researchers did not link "Trisun" in the document; with the accepted name of "Trisim", and therefore probably did not link it to modern Triesen.

From the late middle ages to the modern age the village is documented as a closed settlement area, following long drawn out years of feudal conflicts and conquers during the late Middle Ages, forming a political municipality around 1400.

The Triesener aristocracy, brought in servants predominantly for administration, though this ended in the 15th Century. As the power of the church grew, so the best cultural tithe were ceded to the monastery of St. Luzi in the towns of Chur, Pfäfers and Weingarten - the tithes of Herawingert, Meierhof, Muehle and finally Bad Vogelsang were finally returned, the last in 1919. The predominantly rural population had to be content with the remainder, and that was so little that their survival was a constant fight.

Fighting against Nature

Triesen village centreThere were once "drei Landesnöte" (3 national chords), the Rhine, Ruefe and Föhn (the southerly wind), observed by the population, causing continual stress and untold damage. The last breach of the Rhine bank in Triesen was in 1888, to which we can add the problems caused by the large Ruefe flows in 1910, 1985 and 1995, as well as the inferno sparked by the Föhn in 1913 where several houses were destroyed. The surviving population moulded a culture wrested from nature - in the valley, where the meandering Rhine was adjusting its banks and the soil was drained with canals, and in the mountain area, where by hay was harvested on the mountains and alps.

Fighting against neighbouring communities

Triesen was continually defended against rival factions. The boundaries, fields and water supply disputes with Triesenberg, Balzers, Wartau and Sevelen (both in Switzerland) were commonplace in early times. These arguments appear so minor to us today, but throw a light on the living conditions of early Liechtensteiners and were a central factor of their culture.

Fighting the authorities

Beyond material security; self-determination and traditional liberties were considered worth fighting for. The Trieseners proved that they were not happy with their 'lot' and held Baron Ludwig von Brandis to account for the misuse of the Valuena Alp, causing a rebellion at the speech for the Novalzehntenstreits of 1790, where they protested against measures of the government official Brändl - weapons were handed out and the authorities stormed.

Fighting one another

Despite these difficult times, the remarkable solidarity of the village inhabitants has to be commended, although there were excesses too, most notably the witch hunts. Up to its conclusion at the end of 1681, the denunciation and blood feuds raged against alleged magicians or witches in Triesen. This trauma was only recently shaken off, with the superstition of the "Tobelhocker" where the souls of the denounced and their descendants were banished into the Lawena gorge, high above the village.

Differences were also settled by force in Triesen, normally due to being confronted by external forces. The most dramatic was surely in 1499 during the Schwabian war, where a massacre occurred at St. Wolfgang resulting in the village being raised to the ground. A perennial problem in Liechtenstein was the numerous troops ploughing through the area, or stationed themselves, causing increased hardship to the locals.


But even without causing strife to one another, the economic situation hit locals hard, leading to many inhabitants going hungry. Early in the last century alone, Triesen lost 200 single people and families when they emigrated, about half of them to the USA.

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