Friday, September 25, 2009
Gutenberg Castle, Balzers, Liechtenstein
Background: Schloss Gutenberg (or Burg Gutenberg, both we understand mean Castle Gutenberg) bears no connection to the Gutenberg of printing press fame, but we so far have found no derivation for the name. The castle was built in the 11th Century, belonged to the Barons of Frauenberg (where?) then passed into Austrian hands for over 400 years, from 1314 to about 1824, when the municipality of Balzers bought it. It had been left to decay for decades before that. Enter, community spirit. A sculptor from Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, bought it and renovated and renovated until satisfied in 1910. It was reacquired by the State. Now, since 2000, the facility is used for community events.
The blue haze is blue netting, draped to keep the birds off the grapes. They grow right by the winding road where visitors walk up (cars stop below. So daintily pick off one or two for testing, one two three four, and continue, reinvigorated. Red grapes, deep purples, in case you ask.
We are not sure which events are signified by the horse with the golden mask, perhaps art shows in general, because the castle was closed our day. This was a heavy-duty defensive structure - see the lack of windows, just wall. Many other owners of castles like this put in reams of windows later on, making some facades look like motels. Look at the changed design at the Kufstein Castle in nearby Austria - so many windows in such walls are jarring.
Sometimes, the best way to identify one white fortress from another at home is to compare shutter patterns. In Austria and Switzerland, and Liechtenstein, there are often variations on red wavies, or diagonals, or as here, hourglassies. We think this is the Gutenberg, where the gate (older) adjoins the wall, but will check. It may be the Kufstein.