Schloß Tirol Part Zwei

Great shot of the castle courtyard from our friends at Wikipedia.

Walking through the castle was quite amazing. A direct contrast to our experience from the tourist mecca, Schloß Neuschwanstein. There were hardly any people in the building on this cool autumn day, and guests are allowed to wander though at their own pace.

Markus and I were incredibly impressed with the entire exhibit. I loved that there was a bit of everything that you would expect in a castle museum: paintings, coins, jewellery, chain mail, tombstones, maps, Papal edits to absolve wealthy Catholics, and books. And books. And books. Incredible books about everything you can imagine: torture manuals, lists of landholdings, detailed maps, and directions for how to divvy up the children if one lord’s people (property) married another lord’s.They even had a small display of English travel books about the region from early in the 20th Century.

One interesting room which was completely empty, although you could just feel the centuries of history. This room, known as the temple, (so we were told through the audio system), was the storage room for all of the ruler’s treasures until the seat of power was moved to Innsbruck.

I loved the doorways into the various rooms. Here is a decent shot of one that went into the chapel (you can click on all pictures for a closer look):

And I just had to take this one to show how short the doors were, especially when compared to Markus’ and my modern day height. It barely clears his shoulders! Thank goodness high ceilings were the rage or we would have had a stooped journey through the halls:

Another very interesting room was the kitchen. So as not to disturb the obviously ancient grounds, artifacts were displayed on a raised floor, with certain sections in Plexiglas so you could look down at the original structure. I sure wouldn’t have wanted to make the cook mad with all of the massive knives and scythes lying around.

The curators also made optimal use of the castle tower. They erected a multi-level display around a winding staircase to showcase Tirol in the 20th Century. I thought this wasn’t going to be as interesting for me, but of course the perspective is so different from other NA or European displays I have seen. The mood is quite a bit grimmer when you are the ones that keep losing the wars. One interesting fact I didn’t know was that there was a strong resistance movement in the area from the time Südtirol was taken from Austria and given to Italy. And Mussolini’s aggressive move to populate the area with Southern Italians didn’t help matters. Apparently there were rallies, threats and bombings for several decades.

Besides the fascinating displays and architecture, the other highly notable part of the tour was the views into the valley below. Markus commented that every inch of the mountainous land is used. This is apparent from this shot from the castle (one where you can see the thick walls of the building and a close up to see the incredible stepped farming techniques on the mountainside):

One of the stunning views from Schloß Tirol

One of the stunning views from Schloß Tirol

And a close-up

And a close-up

If you want more info on this incredible landmark, here is a fairly good site, although you have to work through the not perfect translations a bit:

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