Gutenberg Castle is one of the five castles of the Liechtenstein principality and one of two that have survived preserved until the present day. The castle hill has been inhabited since the Neolithic Period. Archeological digs have uncovered several prehistoric artefacts, including the 12cm Mars von Gutenberg figurine, now on display in the Liechtenstein National Museum.
Gutenberg Castle began its existence as a medieval church and cemetery on a hilltop. In the early 12th century, the cemetery was cancelled and the fortification of the former church structure had slowly began with the addition of a ring wall, forming a simple, roughly circular keep. During the 12th century, several additions followed, in particular the creation of the main tower as a vertical extension of the existing keep. Later on, the tower was outfited with merlons. The first written record of the castle's name comes from 1296. In the 12th and early 13th century, the castle was in the ownership of the lords of Frauenberg, a noble house from the Swiss canton of Graubünden. After the death of Heinrich von Frauenburg in 1314, the castle became the property of the House of Habsburg. It was then used primarily for guarding the borderlands between the local Habsburg-owned territories and the ones belonging to the independent Swiss cantons.
At the turn of the 15th century, the castle underwent extensive new construction works as part of an initiative by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I to repair the damage inflicted upon the castle by a siege in 1499, during the Swabian War. Gutenberg Castle possessed a drawbridge until 1537, when the device was damaged by storm and had to be dismantled, never gaining a replacement. During the 17th and 18th century, the castle lost most of its military purpose and was damaged by several fires. It was still being used as a residence around 1750. After a fire in 1795 that greatly damaged Balzers, the castle ruins were used as a source of building material for the reconstruction of the town. The castle was purchased and slightly repaired by the town in 1824, then sold in 1854 to princess Franziska von Liechtenstein.
The castle received a substantial restoration between 1905 and 1912, under the supervision of Vaduz-born architect Egon Rheinberger, its new owner. This restoration added a few new structures and buildings to the lower parts of the castle (see ground plan in references section for more details). After Rheinberger's death in 1936, the castle was rented by the municipality for various events and guests, until it was offered for sale in 1951. In 1979, the castle was purchased by the Principality of Liechtenstein for state and museum purposes. However, the last of the former private owners held her inherited rights to the habitation of the castle until her death in 2001.
The bailey of the castle is open to visitors free of charge all year round. The castle's chapel and rose garden, reconstructed in 2010, are accessible free of charge in the summer tourist season. Guided tours of Gutenberg Castle and its renting for weddings and cultural events are available only during the summer tourist season and need to be arranged in advance by appointment.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.