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About Liechtenstein - History

History of Balzers, Liechtenstein

The proof of continuous settlement in Balzers can be found from the early Stone Age (about 3000 B.C.), to the modern day.

Stormy view over Castle Gutenberg, BalzersThe archaeological finds of 1934 at the south foot of the Gutenberg castle hill provided the most southerly discovery of the "Rössener culture." Early and the late Bronze Age remains have also been found around Gutenberg.

In the northern part of the village archaeologists found the foundations of Roman buildings in 1933 and 1967. The finds included sixty Roman coins (from 46-42 B.C.) that point to the Roman rule of Balzers, highlighting the history of the twin villages of Balzers and Mäls, where the Rätische Mäls is the older of the 'twins'. While "Meilis", as Mäls is called in the Rätic language, cannot so far be interpreted etymologically, the name Balzers (Palazoles) can be linked with the Latin "palatium" (Lordship, Pfalz).

Since subjecting the Rätians (15 B.C.) to the "Imperium Romanum" the location as a "village on the Knights road" has shaped the Balzner history, since the road led across the alpine Julier and Spluegen passes along the mountain-slope through the village. Balzers experienced rapid development in the twentieth century - a testament to the continued importance of its location.

Whilst it only has 4,368 inhabitants, the village has seen a rapid industrialisation. Balzers is the southernmost village in Liechtenstein and is approximately 472 m above sea level with an area of 19.6 square km. With its important and interesting historical past, the village has felt obliged to continue to care for its environment. The village council therefore promises that each inhabitant is ensured a healthy life in a beautiful environment.

View over Balzers and Castle Gutenberg
The castle of Gutenberg was probably a cult place since that 3rd Century B.C. The house of Gutenberg was first mentioned in 1263 (as the property of Hans von Greifenberg und Gutenberg). Since the end of the 13th Century, the castle was in the possession of the Barons von Frauenberg, and since 1314 to 1824 (with exception of 1805-1814) of the dukes of Austria, which they pawned repeated to the aristocracy.

The Knights of Ramschwag exercised the Vogtei in the castle between 1470 and 1746. In 1474 the goods from Gutenberg were used as rent, of it 2/6 went to the Balzner family Wolfinger as a fee.

After 1750 the castle fell into ruin. In 1758, the village of Balzers took over the Gutenberg tithe, except those belonging to the Wolfinger family, and finally bought it in the 1825. The municipality then sold the hill with the castle in 1854 to Princess Franziska da Paula of Liechtenstein. In 1905 a local, Egon Rheinberger bought the ruin and rebuilt it.

Since 1979, Gutenberg - the landmark of Balzers - has been property of the country of Liechtenstein. Renovation continues, and a grandstand has been built in the inner courtyard to hold concerts in the castle. A traditional Gutenberg celebration takes place annually, and is well worth visiting. The Bronze horse in the inner courtyard of Gutenberg is also worth seeing, and every evening the castle of Gutenberg is lit-up, framing the townscape of Balzers.

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