Sigismund, Archduke of Austria, had this modest castle (Landesfürstliche Burg) built in central location of Meran in the second half of the 15th century. He probably used this fortress behind the town hall as his private city residence. However, this ensemble of buildings rather resembles an artistically designed, solid building with low enclosure than a fully-developed castle. For this reason it is simply often referred to as “residence”.
Up to the 16th century the Prince’s Castle remained a royal residence. In 1516 also Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, resided in the castle. As the building repeatedly changed hands, it started deteriorating in the course of the centuries. In 1875 the city of Merano purchased the building. Between 1878 and 1880 a restoration period followed, based on the drawings of the internationally famous architect Friedrich von Schmidt, who also directed the renovations of the Dome of Vienna. When these renovations came to an end, the castle was opened also for the public. Today it hosts the Prince’s Castle Museum.
Its wood-panelled ancient parlours, tiled stoves, bedrooms and maiden rooms provide an interesting insight into the life in Mediaeval times. The furniture, however, dates back to the Gothic and Renaissance periods. Also some weapons such as lances and halberds have been preserved. Moreover there is a little chapel decorated with frescoes dating back to the 16th century.References:
Ängsö Castle was first named as "Engsev" in a royal charter by king Canute I of Sweden (r. 1167-1196), in which he stated that he had inherited the property after his father Eric IX of Sweden. Until 1272, it was owned by the Riseberga Abbey, and then taken over by Gregers Birgersson.
From 1475 until 1710, it was owned by the Sparre family. The current castle was built as a fortress by riksråd Bengt Fadersson Sparre in the 1480s. In 1522, Ängsö Castle was taken after a siege by king Gustav Vasa, since its owner, Fadersson's son Knut Bengtsson, sided with Christian II of Denmark. However, in 1538 it was given by the king to Bengtsson's daughter Hillevi Knutsdotter, who was married to Arvid Trolle.
In 1710, the castle was taken over by Carl Piper and Christina Piper. Ängsö Castle was owned by the Piper family from 1710 until 1971, and is now owned by the Westmanna foundation. The castle building itself was made into a museum in 1959 and was made a listed building in 1965. It is currently opened to visitors during the summers.
The castle is a cubical building in four stores made by stone and bricks. The lower parts is preserved from the middle ages. It was redecorated and expanded in the 1630s. The 4th storey as well as the roof is from the expansion of Carl Hårleman from 1740-41. It gained its current appearance in the 1740s.