There are people, who just visit Liechtenstein for the moment they get their passport stamped. I hope not to disappoint you when I tell you that this is not an official stamp. Still, it is the only you will get as there are no border controles - neither to Switzerland nor to Austria. You can have your passport stamped at the main tourist information in the town centre or at the tourist information booth at the main parking lot which has more generous opening hours. Both accept Swiss Francs and Euros. I do not remember the price I paid when I was there back in 2011, but I think it was 2 EUR.
The castle is the official residence of the prince of Liechenstein so you can watch it only from outside. Part of the castle seems being built in the 12th centurry and the parts of the eastern sides are the oldest. During the swabia war the castle was burned in 1499 and it has been acquired by the princlely family of Liechenstein in 1712.
In the center of the town there are some nice sculptures. The one that caught my attention was the Botero's one as he is one of my favourite artists. The Reclining woman, a sculpture which displays a reclined naked female figure can be found on the main street of Vaduz, north of the Liechenstein museum of fine arts.
The Rhine river forms the border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland and for centuries there have been bridges crossing the Rhine at this spot. The present wooden bridge dates from 1901 and was even used for motorized traffic until 1975. Inside the bridge, you can see where exactly you cross the border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
The Alps are probably not the best known region for wine, but in Liechtenstein wine culture is well alive and celebrated. The Royal family owns a vineyard close to the city of Vaduz where you can not only sample the local wines, but also dine out.
As you might have guessed, this is far away from my usual price range. But even for people like me, this place has something to offers. You are free to walk through the vineyard if you respect some basic rules of common sense. At the paths leading through the vineyard, you will find some boards explaining several steps in wine making.
The „Rotes Haus“ is located at a corner of the vineyard and is the oldest preserved house in Liechtenstein and was once part of a monastery. It was built in the late 15th or early 16th century, but the characteristic tower however wasn't added until 1807. You will see an old wine press there.
The town hall was completed in 1933 after the city decided that it needed a new building for its administration. However, the costs were higher than expecte so that the city decided to rent part of it as office space. It wasn't until 1984 when the last lessee, a bank, moved out.
The shape of the building is inspired by a medieval Gothic town hall, but has the functionalist elements of the early 20th century. Characteristic are the tiny windows, most of them with Gothic-style arches. In the early 1980s, the town hall was refurbished and the large coat of arms facing "Städle“ was placed there. The sculpture in front of the building was designed by Nag Arnoldi and unveiled in 2002.
St. Florin was built between 1863 and 1873 in neogothic style on the site of a former medieval chapel. The leading architekt was Ignaz von Bank, but it was designed by Friedrich von Schmidt who also designed Vienna city hall. Some of the items in the church are older, including some 16th and 17th century statues. In the 1960s and 1970s, the church underwent a larger restoration. Pope John Paul II. created the new diocese of Vaduz in 1997 when St. Florin became the first and only Cathedral in Liechtenstein. Since 1944, the church also houses the Royal Vault of the Royal Family of Liechtenstein (not open to the public). It was moved there after the family was expelled from formerly German-occupied Moravia (Czechoslovakia) – despite the fact that they were no Germans at all.
A simple, modern design with straight lines, it looks like a house on a child's drawing. It was built in 2008 and is the first building used exclusively for parliamentary activities in Liechtenstein. It is the heart of the „governmental district“ of Liechtenstein, which also consists of the state archives and the governmental offices (Regierungsgebäude, 1905). The latter building is known as the „large building“ by the locals and was a multi-purpose building for all governmental purposes until the construction of the present parliament building.
Liechtenstein's parliament consists of 25 elected delegates from three parties (2009). The Prince has the right to veto any law, with exception of laws proposed in order to establish a Republic.
Probably not the most beautiful building in the country, it houses an interesting collection of modern art. The museum started in 1968 in the rooms of a former casino, the present building was opened in 1996. The museum is funded by private investors, the state and the Royal family which has some of their modern paintings on loan to the museum. Outside, you will find a sculpture by Colombian artist Botero. Calculate one to one and a half hours. Worth a visit, if you like modern art.
The castle is well known a s a symbol for the whole Principality of Liechtenstein. However, it is used as a residence by the Royal family and therefore not open to the public. Visitor however are welcome to walk up to the castle (15 minutes using the footpath/steps) and roam the castle grounds. On the way up there, you will also see some boards with information on the country, its history, its political system and many more. From up there, you can have a good view onto the Rhine valley and the city of Vaduz. If you do not want to walk all the way up or want to see the castle in detail, there is a good model of it close to the tourist information booth in the city centre.
The castle most probably dates back to the 13th century with the Bergfried (main tower) being its oldest preserved part. The oldest document mentioning the castle dates from 1322. In the following centuries, the castle was altered and expanded until it reached its present size in 1712. In the 18th and 19th century the castle fell into decay until Prince Johann II. ("The Good“) started a reconstruction program in the early 20th century. For most of the time, the Royal family resided outside of its own principality. During WWII, the family moved back from German occupied Austria into Vaduz Castle. Since then, it is again the official seat of the House of Liechtenstein.
BTW, it was probably Vaduz Castle which gave its name to the city and not vice versa.
This museum looks smaller than it really is and if you are into history, it is easy to spend at least two hours in here. The museum is located in the main old building as well as in new annexes which make an easy overview pretty impossible. Landemuseum focuses on the history of Liechtenstein as well as anything related to it: Old crafts, coins, natural history – you name it. Unfortunately, information in other languages than German is really scarce. It is nevertheless a good local history museum which exceeded my expectations and definitively worth its entry fee.
It was a quiet Saturday, and I was unable to get into the Cathedral. However, I was able to explore the grounds and see some of the external facilities. One other area not accessible was the Prince's Crypt.
EXTRACT FROM WIKIPEDIA:
"Vaduz Cathedral, or Cathedral of St. Florin (German: St. Florinskirche in Vaduz or Kathedrale St. Florin), is a neo-Gothic church in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, and the center of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vaduz. Originally a parish church, it has held the status of cathedral since 1997.
It was built in 1874 by Friedrich von Schmidt on the site of earlier medieval foundations. Its patron saint is Florinus of Remüs (Florin), a 9th century saint of the Vinschgau Valley.
The Archdiocese of Vaduz was erected by Pope John Paul II in the apostolic constitution Ad satius consulendum 2 December 2002. Before then it had been the Liechtenstein Deanery, a part of the Swiss Diocese of Chur. The solemn public ceremony took place on 12 December 1997, in the parish church of Vaduz, which was then raised to the dignity of a cathedral."
The centre is open daily from 09.00 to 17.00. It has a friendly staff and in addition to the tourist information service, there is a good post shop and knowledgeable staff.
I made quite a few purchases and also ensured that the Tourist Information Bureau, stamped my passport with a tourist Visa.
According to article 2 of the Liechtenstein Constitution, “the Principality is a constitutional hereditary monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis; the power of the State is inherent in and issues from the Reigning Prince and the people…”
I have always wanted to visit Liechtenstein; and have to admit I was very pleased by the visit. I am a little surprised with the governmental arrangements of the Principality. In a brief overview, the governmental arrangements have different levels.
There are 11 municipalities with elected councillors (as with most countries) and a parliament with 25 elected members.
From the parliament the Government is elected; the Reigning Prince appoints the members of the Government on the recommendation of the Parliament. This is made up of 5 members and each has a delegate to act in their absence.
The Ruling Prince works in partnership with the Prime Minister to enact all legislation.
I tried to ensure that I visited all the cultural spots in Vaduz, and I might have missed this venue as it is at the top of the building called Engländerbau - and would not have walked further up the stairs had I not seem people coming down them.
It is a fairly large space, and it hosts many different exhibitions. It was a welcoming space and the staff were very helpful.