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The Valkastiel Ruins

by Theresa König last modified 2007-11-08 10:08

There are only two castle-like structures in the Montafon.  The Diebsschlössli or Thieves Castle also known as the Lorünser Castle and the Valkastiel Ruins which is also known as the most mysterious castle in Vorarlberg. The ruins are located on a hard to reach, isolated rocky promontory at the end of the Mustergiel Canyon at the foot of the Vandans Stone Wall and they are surrounded on three sides by wild torrents.  The first time it was mentioned in a document was thought to be from the year 1391 but later this was refuted since today‘s standard of knowledge shows that the document doesn‘t mention any buildings.  It is still a mystery as to who built the castle.  Some historians are of the opinion that it is the ruins of a mountain courthouse built in the 13th century.  There are very few well founded scientific insights about the castle which is due to the lack of archaeological investigations of the site.3 More than likely both of the solitary buildings were built at the same time and were part of a medieval hermitage where monks came to contemplate.  Folktales, however tell of knights, bailiffs or reeves that lived there and tormented and oppressed the local people.  Special mention is given to the „jus primae noctis“  in local folklore where the owner of the castle spent the night with a newly wedded bride - whereby experts are of the opinion that this is a legend and that there is no proof of it.4  Still one of the legends goes on to tell us:
“after every wedding in the village, the bride was led up to the castle where the bailiff could do what he wanted with her for 8 days.  After that she was let go.  This is why many couples put off marriage for years and some girls  never married at all.” 5
There is also no reliable information about the end of the castle.  It is possible that because of it‘s lonely location and the continuous degeneration of the building, that the owners just left it.  It is also possible that the stronghold was burned down during the Appenzeller wars.  Legend has it that the castle was a victim to a civil uprising.


1 Vgl. Elsensohn  2006: 188

2 Vgl. Schoder 1953

3 Vgl. Wink, Watson et al. 2002: 1

4 Vgl. Elsensohn 2006: 190

5 Beitl 1982: 260


P09-1_The Valkastiel Ruins.mp3

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