Schattenburg Castle (Schloss Schattenburg)




Location: Burggasse 1, Feldkirch  Map

Constructed: 1190 by Count of Montfort

Open: May- Oct: 9- 12am, 1:30- 6pm

Jan- Apr: 1-4pm

Entrance Fee: € 6, children €4.50

Tel. +43(5522)71982




Description of Schattenburg Castle

Schattenburg Castle is a medieval fortress perched on a side of a mountain overlooking a town of Feldkirch below. Schattenburg Castle was constructed in 1190 by Count Hugo I Montfort who also found a town of Feldkirch below. Count used it an official seat of his family as well as to control strategic and quiet lucrative trading routes to the South and to the East of the castle. During Medieval Period Schattenburg Castle was unsuccessfully besieged twice. Small garrison managed to beat back all armies including the one sent by Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian in 1345. Only with the break out of Appenzell War (1401- 29) new military technologies finally broke through the defenses of Schattenburg Castle. Count Friedrich von Toggenburg brought heavy trebuchets that howled huge boulders against thick walls, finally breaking them down. After 18 weeks of constant bombardment Heinrich Walter of Ramschwag along with a garrison of 38 men had to capitulate on 29 January 1406. Subsequently Schattenburg Castle was burned down.
Schattenburg Castle was left untouched and without any major renovations since the early 16th century. Today Schattenburg Castle houses a and a museum devoted to its history with a collection of medieval weaponry, religious art and costumes from the time period.



The castle was built around 1200 by Count Hugo (III of Tübingen, I of Montfort, † 1228), the founder of the town of Feldkirch. In the 14th century, the castle increasingly became the center of the lordship from the county of (Montfort-) Feldkirch and thus the successor castle to Alt-Montfort. It was the ancestral seat of the Counts of Montfort until 1390. After two sieges, the castle remained unconquered until the Appenzell War. One of the unsuccessful sieges was undertaken by Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian in 1345.

In 1375 Burgrave Rudolf IV of Montfort sold the Feldkirch dominion, which was administered from the Schattenburg, to Duke Leopold III. from the House of Habsburg. After the death of Rudolf IV of Montfort, the Habsburgs used bailiffs as administrators of the county.

Under Vogt Count Friedrich VII von Toggenburg, the allied Swiss and Feldkirchers besieged the castle in the Appenzell War after the Battle of Stoss in the autumn of 1405. They managed to set up heavy catapults (Bliden) on the Stadtschrofen above the complex. After 18 weeks of siege and constant shelling, Heinrich Walter von Ramschwag, who was defending the Schattenburg with 38 men, had to capitulate on January 29, 1406. The castle was then burned down. The reconstruction took place two years later. However, during the military conflicts between King Sigismund and Duke Friedrich of Austria, the castle was partially destroyed again in 1415 and 1417.

In 1417, Count Friedrich VII of Toggenburg received the Schattenburg as a pledge from King Sigismund. Frederick VII of Toggenburg had extensive expansions carried out on the castle for his feudal court. Under his administration, the three wings were built, which characterize the structural shape of the castle to this day.

With the death of Frederick VII of Toggenburg in 1436, the Schattenburg returned to the administration of the House of Habsburg. Further extensions and redesigns were carried out under the bailiff Hans von Königsegg in the 15th century. Further additions were built in the 17th century.

In 1647, at the end of the Thirty Years' War, Swedish troops occupied the town of Feldkirch and the Schattenburg without a fight. The planned demolition of the castle and the burning of the city could only be prevented by paying a high war contribution. At the same time, the town of Feldkirch undertook to preserve the Schattenburg for the Swedish crown. With the end of the Thirty Years' War the Schattenburg lost its military importance.

In 1773 the bailiwick office was relocated from the castle to the town of Feldkirch. This was the beginning of the structural decline of the complex, although the bailiwick administrator Franz Philipp Gugger von Staudach lived in the castle until 1794. From 1778 to 1825 the castle was used as a prison - with 6 arrests and an interrogation room. The jailer lived in the castle at that time. At the same time, several unsuccessful demolition auctions took place in 1799, 1806 and 1812.

In 1825 the castle was acquired by the town of Feldkirch. It served the city as barracks from 1831 to 1850 (earlier barracks were used in 1803 and 1816). In the second half of the 19th century, the castle accommodated the poorhouse, which existed here until 1914.

The castle was saved and revived by the Museum and Homeland Protection Association for Feldkirch and the surrounding area, which was founded in 1912. Since 1916/17 the Schattenburg has housed the Feldkirch local history museum, which today is the largest local history museum in the state of Vorarlberg.

In 1938, the National Socialists came up with plans to convert the Schattenburg into a Nazi fortified castle, but these were not implemented. In the last days of the Second World War, the castle served as the seat of the Wehrmacht's combat commander.

On November 17, 1953, the French occupying troops returned the castle to the city, and on June 7, 1965, the complex narrowly escaped a catastrophic fire.

In addition to the museum, the castle now also houses a restaurant with a view of Feldkirch's old town.



The first construction phase began around 1200 under Hugo I von Montfort and included the 16 x 12 m and 21 m high keep as well as the Palas, the residential building, moats and drawbridge, as well as the castle walls.

Also worth mentioning are 16th-century frescoes inside the castle chapel.

Wine has been cultivated under the Schattenburg again for a few years.

On February 3, 1967, the Austrian Post Office issued a definitive stamp of the Austrian Architectural Monuments stamp series with a value of 1.30 Schilling.
The Feldkirch landmark also adorns the logo of the ice hockey club VEU Feldkirch.
The ridge is crossed by the two Schattenburg tunnels. The disused Schattenburg Tunnel now serves as a shooting range.