The Liechtenstein Unterland
The 'Unterland' is the old duchy of Schellenberg, and was the first of the two countries bought by the Princes of Liechtenstein. The area is dominated by the Eschnerberg, a hill in the Rhine flood plain, and a safe haven against the regular floods of the river.
The northernmost village of the Unterland, and therefore of Liechtenstein is Ruggell. It is also the lowest lying of all Liechtenstein villages, nestling between the Rhine and the Austrian border.
Moving upstream along the Rhine, one encounters the villages of Gamprin and Bendern. Bendern is most widely known, and most prominent with its church on the corner of Eschnerberg. Gamprin has its origins as a Roman camp, and in Liechtenstein history - the origins of the first oath of allegiance by the men of the country to the Princes of Liechtenstein.
To the east, and still on the foot of the Eschnerberg one finds the capital of the Unterland - Eschen. This is the largest of the communities in the Unterland, and includes the village of Nendeln, on the foot of the mountain, and on the main Schaan to Feldkirch road, linking the country to Austria.
Further east, and still at the foot of the Eschnerberg is the village of Mauren. The parish of Schaanwald is linked to Mauren, and is the main gateway into Austria, with a large border post dominating the village. Mauren is a cultural centre within the Unterland, and is well protected from inclement weather from the north by the Eschnerberg.
Finally, and not forgetting the village that gave its name to the original Unterland - Schellenberg. This village is perched on top of the Eschnerberg, with wonderful views across to Switzerland, and over Austria, to the north. The 'castle' of Schellenberg is in fact a fort, now lying in ruins, but a popular tourist attraction.