On December 2nd, 1997 John Paul II of happy memory erected the Archdiocese of Liechtenstein. Previously the Principality was part of the Diocese of Choir, Switzerland.
His Excellence Archbishop Wolfgang Haas is famous as an Old Rite Latin Liturgy supporter.
Unfortunately, instead of the statues of saints one would expect, I noticed a little dwarf in the garden of the Archbishopric. A little spot in his track, isn't it?
the main attraction - yet off the beaten path
Vaduz Castle is the city's main attraction, but it's so far out of town that it ends up being off the beaten path. The most comfortable way to get there is by car, although it's possible to walk there from the city.
The castle is a medieval fortress. The original building dates back to the 12th century, but only parts of the original plan is intact since the Swiss, during the Swabian War of 1499, set it to flames. The round tower, which is the most prominent part of the building that you can admire from the road, was built right after the fire.
In 1712 the Princes of Liechtenstein took possession of the castle and started restoring it. Today it is the home of the Princely Family - and for this reason it's closed to the public.
St. Florin?s Parish Church
The neo-Gothic parish church of Vaduz was built between 1868 and 1873 on the site of a medieval chapel. It was constructed according to the plans of the Viennese architect Friedrich von Schmidt (who built the Vienna City Hall) and was consecrated on 5 October 1873. With the consecration of the church, Vaduz was elevated to a parish. The interior was renovated from 1965 to 1966 and the exterior from 1975 to 1976.
- Vaduz castle, official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein, closed to untitled tourists.
constructed: abt. 12th century
builder: Count Rudolf I of Werdenberg-Sargans
burned: 1499 by the Swiss during the Swabian War
expanded: 1613-40 by Count Kaspar of Hohenems
owner: 1712, property of the Liechtenstein royalty
rehab: 1904-14 by Prince Johannes II
residence: 1938, Germany annexes Austria and Prince Franz Josef II moves the primary residence of Liechtenstein Royal Family from Vienna to Valduz.
capital of Liechtenstein
population: Vaduz 5,150 (Liechtenstein 35,300)
"Liechtenstein passport stamp"
I loved this large, prominent stamp. I think I had to pay the Liechtenstein Post Office the equivalent of $1 USD for the stamp and it was on the first page of my eventually well-used old passport. For the following ten years when border officers of other countries saw it they would kind of roll their eyes and quickly dismiss me as a hopeless tourist, which I am.
My latest passport has on its first page a large, prominent polar bear stamp from the Churchill, Manitoba CA Post Office. I think I am going to love it too.
Passing through Vaduz and Liechtenstein
Vaduz was one stop in a weekend trip going right around Bodensee (Lake Constance). Click the Europe page for details.
I arrived here by train and bus from Zürich, and it happened to be the National Day of Liechtenstein, 15 August. It seemed that the entire population was out in the streets and there were many beer and food tents set up. I climbed up to Vaduz Castle (see tip) and took in the fantastic views of the Rhine Valley and of Vaduz below.
Of course, every hotel was full, so I had to continue onward. I took a "postbus" to Schaan and another one to Feldkirch in Austria.