Last time our armchair travels took us to the small country of Luxembourg. Before we explore some of the larger countries surrounding it here is another tiny country which is even smaller than Luxembourg – Liechtenstein. The capital is Vaduz and this counts as a 25 km principality located between Austria and Switzerland. The main language of the country is German. Vaduz is a lovely city and the cultural and economic center of Liechtenstein. It lies along the banks of the Rhine and has a very modern center. There are interesting things to do and see and surrounding vineyards to explore.
High above Vaduz sits Vaduz Castle on a hill top. It is the symbol of the capital and can be seen from most every point. Even though the castle is closed to the public it is well worth it to climb on up for the spectacular views. There are trails ascending the hill. You can get a look at the castle grounds. If you visit on Liechtenstein’s National Day, August 15th there are fireworks and the prince invites all of the 37, 132 Liechtensteiners to come on over for a glass of wine or beer.
For a look at modern and contemporary art work visit The Liechtenstein Museum of Fine Arts. This most modern building was designed by architects Meinrad Morger, Heinrich Degelo and Christian Kerezblack. The present exhibition is “Painting and Sculpture” from Classical Modernism to the Modern Day. The exhibition has been divided into three sections through three floors. In the basement the art work focuses on “humans as individuals”. On the first floor visitors will find Classical Modernism paintings and sculptures that date from 1880 to 1945. The second floor is dedicated to art work from 1945 to the present. This exhibition can be seen until October 2016.
The Liechtenstein National Museum is housed in a building dating from 1438. The building is part of the former Administrator’s House but has been used as a princely tavern, a custom’s house and the seat of government. It is interesting to note that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited the tavern here when traveling in 1788. Here you can find artifacts that tell about the history of the county and the museum also has a natural history collection.
The Postage Stamp Museum tells the story of Liechtenstein’s postal service through the years and displays many postage stamps past and present. It was founded in 1930 and opened in 1936. It is housed in the English Building Art Space in the center of Vaduz and is part of the Liechtenstein National Museum. The displays focus on postage stamps issued by the Principality of Liechtenstein since 1912. You can also see machines that postal workers used in the old days.
If you want to see what Vaduz once looked like take a walk northeast of town to Mitteldorf. Here you’ll discover lovely streets with charming houses and rose gardens. Of interest is the Red House overlooking the vineyards.
Visit The Treasure Chamber of the Principality of Liechtenstein which is the only museum of its kind in the Alps. Here the exhibitions focus on art work that belongs to the Princes of Liechtenstein and other private collectors. The exhibition “The Principality, the World, and Outer Space” shows works of art made from precious materials, historic weapons and opulent presents that belonged to rulers like Prince Friedrich II of Liechtenstein and Emperor Kaiser Joseph II of Austria. On display is a collection belonging to Liechtenstein collector Adulf Peter Goop which includes a selection of one of the world’s finest Easter egg collections. This collection includes the famous Faberge Easter eggs. Visitors can also see amazing lunar rocks that were collected by astronauts on board Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 and learn how they arrived in the principality. Here you’ll also see the famous design created by Koloman Moser for the first postage stamp issued by Liechtenstein.
A must for wine lovers is a visit to The Prince of Liechtenstein Winery. This is the home of the Herawingert Vineyard which is among the best wine-growing regions in the Rhine Valley. The soil here is excellent for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Prince of Liechtenstein Winery also cultivated the Abstwingert Vineyard below the Red House in the Oberdorf area of Vaduz.
Even though you can only view it from the outside it is well worth it to visit The Red House. This house has a gabled stairway and a large tower that includes the living quarters. It is referred to as the Red House because of the buildings dark-red coloring. It dates back to the mid 19th century. Since 1807 the house has belonged to the Rheinberger family. Egon Rheinberger was a famous Liechtenstein painter, sculptor and architect and extended this house between 1902 and 1905.
Linking the municipalities of Vaduz and Sevelen is a covered wooden bridge called “Alte Rheinbrucke”. It was completed in 1901 and is 135 meters long. Today it is the only remaining wooden bridge that spans the Rhine. No motor vehicles are allowed making it very popular with cyclists.
On the second floor of the English Building is the English Building Art Space in the center of Vaduz. It was created in 2002. All of the exhibitions, installations, performances and other projects are presented on the large floor space here. They do not regard themselves as an art gallery but instead as a place where artistic opinions, ideas and promotions can be exchanged.
On the eastern side of the Peter-Kaiser Platz square you’ll find the government district. Here is the government building, parliament building and national archive.
The government building dates back to 1905 and is the official seat of the government of the Principality of Liechtenstein. Other buildings here include the house where composer Josef Gabriel Rheinberger was born, the St. Florin Parish Church from 1873 and the newly constructed parliament building. The government building dominates the southern entrance to the historic center of Vaduz, referred to as the “Stadtle”.
While you are enjoying all that the center of Vaduz or the “Stadtle” or “Small Town” has to offer don’t forget to walk about and admire all of the impressive sculptures on display. The heart of Vaduz offers visitors many shops, restaurants, cafes and cultural venues to explore. The area between the government district and the town hall is only open to pedestrians.
The African King by sculptor Gunther Stilling in Vladuz town center
By Vladuz Town Hall is the bust of Reigning Prince Franz Josef II by Kees Verkade. It was commissioned by the Municipality of Vaduz to mark the occassion Prince Franz Josef II 100th birthday.
At Peter Kaiser Platz Square is Figure in a Shelter by Henry Moore.
Walking along you’ll also see the bronze sculpture Grande Cavallo by Nag Arnoldi.
Opposite the town hall is the impressive Hochsitz by Robert Indermaur. The Hochsitz or Hunter’s Stand is part of the series known as Mountain Air.
At the entrance for Beckagassli from Vadiz town center you’ll find the granite sculpture Monoform 29 by Gottfried Honegger.
Next to the Vaduz Town Hall Square is an interesting bronze sculpture called Phoenix by Doris Buhler.
In front of the town hall is granite sculpture Progression of a Form in 3 Steles by Christian Megert. It was created from South African granite.
North of the Liechtenstein Museum of Fine Arts is the Reclining Woman by Fernando Botero. The reclining naked female figure is a symbol of the sleeping soul in figurative style.
Bronze sculpture Renaissance by Daniel Spoerri.
Bronze sculpture Standing Figure by Herbert Albrecht.
In the town center The Swiss Fountain by Roman Signer. This is not a fountain but a sculpted installation based on the theme of water.
By Kirchstrasse – Two Light Prisms by Heinz Mack made of special steamed glass.
Next to Vaduz Post Office – Z-Cube by Georg Malin. In polished bronze.