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About Liechtenstein - History

History of Vaduz, Principality of Liechtenstein

Prince Hans Adam I purchased the county Vaduz in 1712 and in 1719 requested that Emperor Karl VI. combined it with his other possession, the Duchy of Schellenberg, to form the Principality Liechtenstein. Vaduz became the capital of the whole country. Since 1938 Vaduz Castle has been the home of the Princes of Liechtenstein.

The castle of Vaduz, icon of the countryVaduz was first mentioned in 1150 and its name comes from the Rhäto-Roman language dating back to the time when the Romans ruled the province of Rhätea. The county of Vaduz is also mentioned in judicial memoranda of 1342 as being part of the Sargans-Werdenberg area when this was divided up.

The castle of Vaduz stands high above the centre and was built around 1300. It was the seat of the governors of the Dukes of Werdenberg, the Counts of Brandis from the Emmental (now famous for its cheese), the Dukes of Sulz from Klettgau in Swabia, and the Dukes of Hohenems from neighbouring Austria. In 1592, Vaduz was granted the right to a market by Emperor Rudolf II.

In the 12th century, Vaduz was documented as "Faduzes" or as "De faduze". The settlement of the village probably began in the 5th century, considerably earlier than the castle, whose oldest parts are from the 12th century.

The Rot Haus (or Red House) in Vaduz

Beginning in the 14th century, Vaduz was written as it is today. The original centre of Vaduz was the Mitteldorf and many houses in Mitteldorf and Oberdorf are listed, and therefore protected. The Red House, a medieval corbie-gable house, can be seen from quiet a distance. The central landmark of Vaduz is undoubtedly the castle, which is a medieval fortress expanded in the 16th and 17th century.

The earliest explicit record of the fortress was in a document with which Court Rudolf von Werdenberg-Sargans pledged the fortress to Ulrich von Matsch. The owners at the time - and probably also the builders - were the Counts of Werdenberg-Sargans.

The castle keep, which dates from the 12th century, and the buildings on the eastern side are the oldest part of the complex. The tower's foundation measures 12 x 13m; the thickness of its walls at its base is up to 4m. The original entrance was on the courtyard side at a height of 11m.

The basic structure of the Chapel of St. Anna was probably established in the late Middle Ages. The main altar is late Gothic. In the Swabian War of 1499, the Swiss raised the castle. The round tower was built from 1529 to 1532 and the western side was expanded by Count Kaspar von Hohenems (1613-1640).

Since 1712, the castle has been in the possession of the Princes of Liechtenstein, where the castle served as a temporary seat for the Imperial administrator, but large parts of the building became increasingly dilapidated. Under Prince Johann II, the castle was finally extensively restored between 1905 and 1912 and was later converted into a residence by Prince Franz Josef II. The castle has been the permanent residence of the Princely Family since 1938, but it is not accessible to the public.

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